Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick Inc. Marketing Manager Wayne Oehmke speaks at a small-business roundtable Aug. 15. Around 35 small-business owners and employees attended the event.

Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick Inc. Marketing Manager Wayne Oehmke speaks at a small-business roundtable Aug. 15. Around 35 small-business owners and employees attended the event.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Macomb County small businesses discuss issues at roundtable

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published August 21, 2019

 State Sen. Michael MacDonald, of Macomb Township, hosts a small business roundtable Aug. 15 in Clinton Township.

State Sen. Michael MacDonald, of Macomb Township, hosts a small business roundtable Aug. 15 in Clinton Township.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Small-business owners and employees from around Macomb County recently had a chance to discuss topics that affect them.

State Sen. Michael MacDonald, of Macomb Township, hosted a small-business roundtable Aug. 15 at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch in Clinton Township. Around 35 people were in attendance.

“Since being sworn in, I’ve made it my goal to listen to and get to know as many citizens, business owners, and families as possible so that I can know how best to serve Macomb County,” MacDonald said.

Bob Maynard, of Macomb Township, is the fundraising chairperson for Blessings in a Backpack of Utica. He attended the event to hear from other small businesses and what their future plans are.

“I’d like to know what smaller businesses in this community are really thinking about as far as their future,” he said. “We all hear about how great everything is, and I believe it is, but that doesn’t mean businesses don’t need to have a strategy on how they move forward and survive when things get tighter.”

When asked what action he wants to see from the state level as it relates to small businesses, Maynard said, “For the state (to) get out of the way of small businesses. Keep the regulations to a minimum. The fact is small businesses don’t need the overhead of regulation.”      

Prior to the roundtable, MacDonald said he worked at Northwest Mutual, a financial services company, which is how he got to know small-business owners.

“I’ve always wanted to help small businesses,” he said. “I got to understand the size and scope of them.”

His belief is that in any community, businesses drive everything.

“You have to have a successful business for a successful quality of life,” he said. “Entrepreneurship is the great American dream, and anything I can do to be a resource, I want to do that.”

MacDonald’s purpose of the roundtable was fact-finding when it comes to business owners.

“How do I help you be successful is the purpose of the legislation,” he said. “I want to take more action.”

Macomb County small-business leaders in attendance included FreeStar Financial Credit Union Chairman Raymond White Jr, and insurance agency owner Tom Sokol. They talked about the state of the economy and the unique challenges facing small businesses.

Sokol, of Macomb Township, said a challenge he faces is the ease of doing business and access to capital.

“I think everybody in this room wants a simplified way of coming up with rates,” he said. “Simplification with regulation is the key to us.”

White said there are many roadblocks to small entrepreneurs.

“They’re always finding out what they don’t have and somebody telling us what we have to do to be successful instead of listening and seeing how they can help,” he said. “All entrepreneurs think they’re going to conquer the world, but they also need a dose of this-is-how-we-conquer-the-world.”

During the roundtable, MacDonald also talked about his work on a new bipartisan legislative package to implement an entrepreneurship-led economic development plan.

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