COLUMN: Celebrating National Small Business Week

May 13, 2019
Weekly Column and Op-Ed

“Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy.”

A lot of people don’t realize exactly how many small businesses are all around us. Whether it be a storefront on Main Street in downtown Ritzville, the local fruit stand off the highway in Selah, or an online boutique operating out of Winthrop, it is very likely that someone you know can call themselves a “small business owner.”

Last year, I had the honor of meeting Mike Mauk, who owns Mauk Fishing Stuff. Mike has always loved fishing, but he was tired of his fishing pole getting hooked on the elements around him. He and his family created tackle covers which they now sell from their home in Brewster. Mike was invited to attend the Made in America Symposium at the White House to display his tackle covers and speak with other business owners and entrepreneurs around the country about their products and marketing techniques.

Mike is an example of many small business owners: He saw a problem, and he came up with a solution that would help his friends and neighbors. While his operation may be small, Mike’s passion for helping others is clear, and the economic impact he is having on the local communities of North Central Washington is not forgotten.

This past week (May 5-12, 2019), we celebrated National Small Business Week. Across the country, states were highlighting the contributions that small businesses make to local economies, cultures, and communities. Additionally, the Small Business Administration (SBA) recognized small business owners for their achievements throughout the year.

Lee and Emily Fergestrom own Fortuity Cellars, a Yakima Valley winery, and were named the 2019 SBA Seattle District Rising Startup of the Year. With assistance from an SBA loan and the Small Business Development Center, Lee and Emily used e-commerce to generate $100,000 in revenue and signed up more than 100 wine club members in their first nine months – even without a physical retail location. 

Fortuity Cellars’ success exemplifies Lee and Emily’s innovation and drive, and their success is warranted. In an area surrounded by Washington wineries, we should remember that many of them are small and family-owned.

We should be celebrating small businesses every week by shopping locally and supporting our friends and neighbors. Whether it be at a local winery like Fortuity Cellars or a fishing supply shop like Mauk Fishing Stuff. I am proud to represent the successful small business owners of Central Washington.

There are local, state, and federal resources available to help Americans achieve their dreams of owning a small business. If you or someone you know is looking for assistance with the Small Business Administration you can contact my Yakima office at (509) 452-3243.