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COVID-19: Lifting Restrictions

Small Business Center Helps Local Businesses Survive the Pandemic Through Grant

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Surry Community College’s Small Business Center (SBC) has been engaged in an enhanced outreach effort to help businesses in Surry and Yadkin counties through the Rapid Response Recovery Assistance Program Grant, also known as the R3, a program that was implemented from June to December 2020.

The Surry Community College SBC was allocated tens of thousands of dollars in grant funds to be used to pay local small business service vendors to provide badly needed services directly to local small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“We have helped dozens of businesses throughout Yadkin and Surry counties,” says SCC SBC Director Mark Harden. “Many of the enhanced services included website improvements and upgrades; marketing videos and photography; social media upgrades; marketing plans; and e-commerce related services.”

Dale Badgett, former SBC director, was hired to facilitate this effort and worked with dozens of businesses in the region to determine how the SBC can best help them. His efforts were so successful that the SBC was granted additional funds for this program and those additional funds were fully expended to help local businesses.

Harden stated, “Our success is fully attributable to the hard work of Mr. Badgett. He has a long and storied history of working with local businesses in many different capacities. We are fortunate that he was available to the college and are pleased to recognize his hard work.”

Among the dozens of businesses served were Tampco, Inc. in Elkin, Anna Howe Designs of Yadkinville, LazerEdge of Mount Airy, and Technique Carpentry & Woodworking of Pilot Mountain.

Steve Cohen of Tampco, Inc. says, “Working with Dale Badgett and the Small Business Center has been a pleasure. With their guidance and introductions, we were able to build a top quality web-site. Being able to partner with these fine people in our community gives us the advantage to continue to grow our company, Tampco Inc. With their assistance, we are able to continue to not only add employees but to provide high quality, high wage jobs for our current workers.”

Anna Howe, owner of Anna Howe Designs says, “Receiving the R3 business grant from the Surry Community College Small Business Center was such a blessing. Running an in-person DIY workshop in the height of a pandemic posed quite an issue with the limitations on gathering inside. I pivoted from holding classes at my workshop to selling ‘workshop in a box’ kits that people could order online and pick up or have shipped.”

Howe explains, “I was able to use the funds from the grant to hire an amazing photographer, Stephanie Berbec Photography, to help me create imagery to market the kits with. It turned out that having great photos was such a game changer for my business that I now bring Stephanie back every quarter for updated photos of what we're working on.”

She is thankful to the SBC for connecting her with Stephanie and also giving Anna Howe Designs the extra boost needed to stay successful during the pandemic.

Will Pfitzner, owner of LazerEdge says his business was heavily impacted by the pandemic due to their College Campus retail partners shutting down and in-person events cancelling such as the well- known Autumn Leaves Festival. Through the SBC and local marketing experts, LazerEdge created a digital platform specialized for displaying the thousands of products they manufacture in Mount Airy.

“This digital platform will continue to be built upon in efforts to grow LazerEdge to a national brand who believes in bringing manufacturing back to the USA by combining the art of craftsmanship with innovative technologies,” says Pfitzner. “LazerEdge hopes to make Surry County proud and is incredibly blessed to call it home.”

Technique Carpentry & Woodworking owner, Tony Williams says, “Dale helped me a great deal, and I truly appreciate it. Getting my website up and running has been great so far.”

Harden went onto say, “This health crisis has been detrimental for so many of our local small businesses, and many are struggling to figure out how to remain in business. Pandemic relief funding allowed the SBC to hire more counselors and expand the extent of our counseling services to local businesses in order to help them survive during these challenging times.”

Businesses needing assistance with COVID-19 business issues can contact Mark Harden, Small Business Center Director, at (336) 386-3685 or hardenm@surry.edu. Any in-person counselling will follow social distancing protocols.

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