March 16, 2009
Obama’s Remarks to Small Business Owners, Community Lenders, and Members of Congress
expect us to do. They’re folks like John Wilson, the president and part owner of a small business in Raleigh, North Carolina. He wrote to me a few weeks ago and participated in the meeting we just held.
And John’s business, NC Design Group, sells cabinets and interior design services. And not surprisingly, it’s been a tough year. Sales have fallen by half. And keep in mind, John had previously doubled what had started off as a very small business, to the point where he’s providing a living for — it was up to 40 — 48 people. And John did all that he could to save loans. The owners, including John, have taken no compensation. But they had to reduce the size of their company from 48 employees to 34. And John just told the group of us that he personally took the time to speak to each and every person that he had to lay off. And I don’t think he minds me sharing that he cried each time he did it, because it’s a hard thing when somebody is working hard and committed to helping you build your business, you having to lay them off.
And now, even though they’ve never been late on a payment to the bank, they’re having trouble keeping a credit line. It’s putting his small business —- and the 34 jobs left —- in jeopardy.
Now, John is not looking for a handout. He’s looking for the opportunity to succeed. And he said it best himself in his letter, and I’m quoting from the letter here: “Small business people are incredibly resilient and resourceful given half a chance,” he said. “But we need the chance.”
Well, I want to say to John and to every American running a small business or hoping to run a small business one day: You deserve a chance. America needs you to have that chance. And as President, I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that you have the opportunity to contribute to your community, to our economy, and to the future of the United States of America.
Thank you, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.)
(in alphabetical order by organization name)
AD PRO web, Tracy Stanhoff
American Enterprise Bank, David Schroeder, President
Argand Solar, Eric Lensch, CEO
Associated Black Charities of Maryland, Diane Bell-McKoy, CEO
Audio Description, Joel Snyder, President and CEO
Avanti Food Corporation/Gia’Pronto, Marco Lentini, Founder and President
AYT Auto, Gary Tian Zhu, Owner
Bank of the West, Cynthia L. Blankenship, Former Vice Chairman
BBVA Compass Bank, Greg Clarkson, SBA Division Manager
Belonger Corporation, Jean Marie Thiel, Founder
Bender Consulting Services, Joyce Bender, President
Bennett, Hutt @ Co, CPA and Advisors, Louis Hutt, Jr., Managing Member
Blue Monkey, Brian Conrad, President
Busboys and Poets, Andy Shallal, Owner
Business and Professional Women USA, Deborah Placket-Frett, CEO
Business and Professional Women USA, Rachel Lyons, Director of Public Policy
Caddo Solutions, Donald Kelin, President and CEO
Citizens Bank, Deborah Cole, President and CEO
CMSI, Jim DeFrancesco
Credit Union National Association, Mary Dunn
Daytner Construction Group, Theresa Alfaro Daytner
De Novo Health, Charles Ritchey, CEO
Document Systems, Inc., Joel Limerick, President
En Route, William Gehrman, President