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York City small businesses foster community

Jana Benscoter
505-5438/@jbenz51
  • Small Business Week is a nationwide initiative, and York City businesses are participating.
  • Economic development experts say small businesses comprise the bulk of Pennsylvania business.

Carrying three shopping bags and a pink rose, York City resident Amy Elizabeth Burger left Foster’s Flower Shop on North Beaver Street in York City. Burger, who is renewing her vows with her husband in November, said she’s supportive of small businesses.

Owner Marcy Almoney, left, of  Foster's Flower Shop, answers questions and sends bride-to-be Amy Elizabeth Burger, of York City, home with some magazines to help her get an idea of what she might like for her wedding during Burger's first visit to the store in York City, Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Burger said she is thankful for community shopping options, mostly because, she said, she is mentally challenged. Local convenience makes her life easier, she said.

“We get to know everybody’s aspect of life,” Foster’s Flower Shop owner Marcy Almoney said.

Pennsylvania businesses are among those participating in Small Business Week, a brainchild of the national Small Business Administration meant to drum up support for locally owned businesses across the country. The SBA defines a small business as one that employs fewer than 500 workers.

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Community and Economic Development is participating in Small Business week by holding a series of events and webinars recognizing owners and by highlighting resources made available through the department to support their growth.

According to Downtown Inc, a public-private partnership that works to enhance and foster reinvestment in downtown York, there are 1,640 businesses within a one-mile radius of York City’s Continental Square. And there are 5,748 businesses within a three-mile radius of the square.

Almoney, who has been at the Beaver Street location for 2½ years and has been in business for 15 years, said she would encourage an aspiring entrepreneur to “take the plunge, be bold and have a good business plan.” She said she employs four staffers at her shop and plans to expand.

State officials made a stop Tuesday at Nuts About Granola on West Philadelphia Street in York City to recognize its positive growth and small business success. Co-founders Sarah and Gayle Lanphier said it’s the details that make a difference. Admitting that mistakes will happen, the duo agreed they have been able to overcome minor obstacles during the nine years they have owned the business.

“What’s important is to not make the same mistake again,” Gayle Lanphier said.

Sarah Lanphier said they employ four part-time employees in addition to the co-founders’ full-time status. Beyond that, she said, her business spurs growth for other local businesses by hiring contractors and paying for other professional services.

"This a great week for us to celebrate" said Sheri Collins, deputy secretary of the state Office of Technology and Innovation. "But the reality is that this department works every day to celebrate the success of businesses."

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the commonwealth has roughly a million small businesses, which employ 2.5 million individuals. The department reports that those businesses play a vital role in the economy, accounting for nearly all — 99.6 percent — of businesses statewide.

Kevin Schreiber, CEO of the York County Economic Alliance, said he views retention of small businesses as vital to local and county economies, while expansion of existing businesses and recruitment of new businesses are somewhat secondary in the big picture.

"We're building a sense of community," Schreiber said. "Jobs really do follow people. Small businesses are inherently woven into the fabric of community."