About 90 percent of members in the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce are small businesses. One such member is Ray Wiegand’s Nursery on Romeo Plank Road in Macomb Township. Event Coordinator Wendy Wiegand said the store is based on family core values.

About 90 percent of members in the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce are small businesses. One such member is Ray Wiegand’s Nursery on Romeo Plank Road in Macomb Township. Event Coordinator Wendy Wiegand said the store is based on family core values.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Small businesses in Macomb Township are large part of community

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published November 16, 2018

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — According to the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development, 95 percent of the businesses in the county are defined as a “small business” — one that employs fewer than 50 people.

While it employs more than 50 workers, event coordinator Wendy Wiegand of Ray Wiegand’s Nursery still considers it a small business.

“We’re employing local people and supplying product to local people,” she said. “Most of the money that is spent at the store is going back to local suppliers. Shopping small means putting food on your neighbor’s plate. It’s keeping a roof over their head. It allows a business to help make someone else’s life better.”

During the spring, its busiest season of the year, Wiegand’s employs around 250 workers.

A couple organizations Wiegand’s partners with for fundraisers are the Rainbow Connection — a charity dedicated to making dreams come true for Michigan children with life-threatening medical conditions — and Turning Point, an organization dedicated to helping victims of abuse.

“We do a lot of workshops and classes throughout the year and a lot of fundraisers,” Wiegand said when asked how the business engages with the community. “In the spring, we do an Easter egg hunt for charity. We average two to three large charitable events a year.”

Macomb County Chamber of Commerce CEO Grace Shore said that about 90 percent of its members are made up of small businesses. Across the nation, there are about 27 million small businesses, which generate 50 percent of the gross domestic product, according to the Small Business Administration.

“They’re very flexible,” Shore said when describing small businesses. “They can respond to market needs and customer needs because they’re small and owner-operated. The owner has contact with his customers and can then respond to their needs.”

Wiegand had similar sentiments about interaction with customers in a small business setting.

“We have the opportunity to work with our customer one-on-one,” she said. “When you go into a big business, odds are that you won’t encounter someone in a higher ranking position or an owner. You only see a manager if there is a serious problem.”

Wiegand’s is a member of the chamber, joining in 2016.

Wiegand said that small businesses play a vital part in the community because “we’re employing, supporting and giving back to the community. Everyday I get a request for something to be donated to a local charity, a high school or someplace else.”

Both big and small businesses are needed in a community, but Shore said small businesses also have that personal appeal because they are very tied to the community.

“They’re people in your community. They live in your community. Their kids go to school (with your kids) so you have a personal relationship with your customers, with your government officials, and your local community is your source of networking,” she said.

Wiegand’s is based on family values, with Wiegand saying its mission statement probably reads different than bigger businesses.

“Ours is based on family core values,” she said. “When you are a corporate business, it can’t be.”

An example Wiegand shared of how generations of families continue shopping at Wiegand’s is that during the holidays, she’ll notice families who visited Santa 15 years ago and still come back.

“I would imagine that as long as we have Santa here, they are going to come back with their families,” she said. “We’ve instilled a tradition with them.”

Wiegand’s is located at 47747 Romeo Plank Road, north of 21 Mile Road.