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Level the Playing Field

Supporting Fairness for Small Business

Karen and Jay - Discussing and celebrating the creativity of American Small Business!

As many of you may know, I am an ardent champion of entrepreneurs and small business. And it’s time, right now, to do everything we can to ensure that small businesses are given a level playing field versus larger national and corporate competitors. While we’ve seen larger businesses deemed ‘essential’ and allowed to remain open, smaller more vulnerable businesses have been forced to shutter even while offering many of the same goods or services. Small businesses are the anchor of our economy and purveyors of local culture yet right now, the futures of many small businesses are in question in the wake of the economic fallout caused by COVID-19

In the United States, small businesses make up 44% of GDP, employ almost half of the American workforce, and account for over 60% of new job creation annually. While the CAREs ACT passed by Congress helped provide some relief, supporting small businesses through these challenging times will depend on support from individuals like us advocating for them with our wallets and with leadership at the local, state, and federal level.

And, there is no better time than now to act. As we write the rules for how we will weather this storm, we have the responsibility to make sure small businesses, the cornerstones of our community and our economy, are not left behind. We can do this by doing the following:

  • Buy Local

  • Leave positive reviews on Yelp or Google Reviews of your favorite places

  • Give a shout out to your favorite spots on social media

  • Get to know how local, state, and federal legislation will affect local businesses

  • Get involved, join town hall meetings and reach out to elected officials to make sure they’re doing all they can to support local business

Let’s Level the Playing Field with China

We all know China does not play on a level playing field with the United States. This has had a devastating long-term impact on American manufacturing, hitting local manufacturers in small towns the hardest. How can it be consistently cheaper to have something made on the other side of the world, shipped to the U.S., and then transported again to its final destination, all at a lower price, than the same item being made in the USA? Especially, for goods that are not labor intensive to produce? The answer: It’s only possible because China does not play fair. They use predatory practices to drive American manufacturing out of business designed to ensure that they are the only ones making our goods. It is time we stood up for American manufacturing.

Make no mistake, we can all believe in free trade, but for there to be free trade, there must be open and fair trade. China does not practice open or fair trading. They artificially create economic scenarios that make it more profitable to produce in their country. It’s time to insist on a level playing field.

Kennett High School Seniors Reach The Peak!

Here’s a terrific example of turning lemons into lemonade.

The Kennett High School Community located in northern New Hampshire recently created a series of events to give the seniors a graduation they truly deserve. Speeches and award presentations were pre-recorded speeches and then streamed on the school’s YouTube channel and Community TV. The following day, graduates took part in a caravan parade down Main Street where members of the community lined the street cheering on the class of 2020. The parade concluded at Cranmore Mountain where students and their families boarded the chairlift and headed to the top of the mountain to receive their diploma. What a true symbolic moment - students reached the pinnacle of their public secondary and received their recognition on the pinnacle of a mountain. The ideas by the community and involvement by so many even ‘peaked’ the interest of CNN.

Karen and I have watched our kids receive their diplomas and like so many parents couldn’t be prouder. I can even recall my own Newport High School Graduation and I suspect you have some fond graduation memories in your past as well. For years the same old traditions have taken place year after year. But this year, we applaud the creative and innovative approach of small towns like those of Kennett High School for tackling the tough challenges they’ve faced recently, remaining resilient and creating a lasting legacy of what we can accomplish when our communities come together.

I invite you to take a moment and watch this amazing video of the Kennett High School Class of 2020:

Positive Profile of the Week - Tom Boucher

This week we are delighted to profile a true leader of small business – Tom Boucher. In previous Sunshine Reports we have highlighted the courageous efforts of small business entrepreneurs who have been working hard every day to not only support our communities but provide jobs, create opportunity, and overcome obstacles with a positive and Can-Do approach.

Many people in New Hampshire know the brand T-Bones and Cactus Jack’s. And many know of Tom Boucher, the CEO behind these outstanding restaurants across New Hampshire. But few people know the essence of Tom’s story, one that has made him the person he is today: an innovative CEO, compassionate and charitable leader, and advocate for his industry.

Tom graduated with a degree in chemistry from Merrimack College. After graduating while contemplating the direction he wanted to take his career, he worked at a local T-Bones restaurant as a server. Falling in love with the restaurant industry, he quickly worked his way up the ladder. After five years, he served in the roles of dining room manager, head kitchen manager, and general manager. His passion for the restaurant industry led to the opening of the Cactus Jack’s restaurants, including the Copper Door locations. Today, as CEO of Great NH Restaurants, Tom and his team have taken on some of the industry’s largest brands and not only outlasted them, but have recently taken on even more new and exciting adventures.

In addition to his responsibilities as CEO of Great NH Restaurants, Tom and his team founded FeedNH,org, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the community. The organization donates hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly to supporting those most in need, and assists other nonprofits who help support our communities.

As businesses and communities navigate through COVOD-19, Tom has been on the front lines advocating for fellow restaurant owners, their dedicated employees, and the communities in which they reside. He’s offered counsel on how to adapt to the challenges posed by the virus, even appearing as an industry spokesman and representative on national news, Tom has been a tireless advocate for an industry that needs our support now more than ever.

Recently, Tom launched As large delivery services like GrubHub and Uber Eats demand large fees to deliver food, Tom has used his catering company division to create a delivery service featuring some of the great meals at T-bones and Cactus Jacks. In addition, summer BBQ packages are available using a very simple online ordering system, allowing patrons of Great New Hampshire brands to enjoy amazing cuisine right at the comfort at home. This effort is to be commended on so many levels. In a time when businesses are closing their doors, Tom is opening new ones. In a period where some aren’t able to leave their homes due to health reasons, Tom has created the chance for them to enjoy something they have truly missed, a fantastic meal from one of their favorite places. And lastly, when others are putting their heads down and accepting defeat, Tom Boucher is there to help, inspiring us to do the same.

Quotes of the Week – Small Business

"What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone. Know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed." -- Dave Thomas - Founder/CEO of Wendy's

"A small business is an amazing way to serve and leave an impact on the world you live in." -- Nicole Snow

"Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering and providing tremendous service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationship." -- Henry Ross Perot

"Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down." -- Charles F Kettering

"You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be." -- Napoleon Hill


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