LT. GOV. GARLIN GILCHRIST was at the Owosso Armory on Friday, July 30 as part of a state series to listen to and promote small business owners following the economic struggles of the pandemic.
“We are here to talk about growth and opportunity,” explained Gilchrist to attendees in the lower-level conference room. He further described creating “pathways for people to have work that is fulfilling that allows them to support a family, that creates the economic opportunity that will lead to vibrant communities and places that we are here to talk about.”
“Our goal with these Main Street initiatives we are focusing on today is about two things. Stabilization: making sure that those who have already taken the risk, put in the work, put in their own capitol or raised it from friends and family, those who have stepped out … that the ground will be there to meet them. We will be there to support them. And this is about how we inspire others who have joined in that effort and recognize that Michigan is the right place to take advantage of these opportunities.”
Gilchrist shared that the state has offered 23 programs supporting over 25,000 businesses and saving 250,000 jobs – in response to the pandemic. Many of the programs were designed to fill in some of the gaps of federal programs with the hope of making the programs available to a broader grouping of small businesses.
A discussion panel joining Gilchrist included (from left) Melanie Pratt of the HQ Fun Bunker, Fitness Coliseum owner Brianna Carroll and Foster Coffee co-owner Jon Moore. Each business owner offered background details on their businesses and some of the struggles they encountered in dealing with the COVID-19 shut down – impacting them, their families, customers, employees and the community. All three businesses represented on the panel survived the pandemic, but the business owners were on hand to relay their experiences to Gilchrist, particularly focusing on which federal and/or state programs had helped them out.
An overlapping theme between the three business owners was expressed in their love and continued support of community and their desire to remain in Shiawassee County.
SEDP President/CEO Justin Horvath chaired the event. Also in attendance was Owosso Mayor Chris Eveleth, Owosso Mayor Pro Tem Sue Osika, Owosso City Manager Nathan Henne, representatives of the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce and many local business owners and advocacy organizers.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)