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Small Businesses in the Rural Ozarks[Part_1]

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/smallbusin_3203.mp3

Small businesses are the lifeblood of any small town. In this segment of Making a Difference Where You Live, Michele Skalicky talks with small town business owners and with the director of the Small Business Development Center at Missouri State University.

11-27-06 MAD AM NOV 2006

WELCOME TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE WHERE YOU LIVE, A SERIES FOCUSING ON HOW VOLUNTEERISM AND PHILANTHROPY MEET THE NEEDS OF COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE OZARKS. DURING THIS SERIES, WE EXPLORE A DIFFERENT TOPIC EACH QUARTER—FOCUSING INDEPTH ON THE PEOPLE AND EVENTS MAKING A DIFFERENCE HERE IN THE OZARKS. TODAY, WE TALK WITH SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS IN AREA SMALL TOWNS. MAKING A DIFFERENCE WHERE YOU LIVE IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF THE OZARKS.

STEVE NORMAN HAS BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR 32 YEARS. HE OWNS FERGUSON DRUG IN WILLOW SPRINGS, AND HE GREW UP IN A SMALL TOWN.

NORMAN IS GLAD HE MADE THE DECISION TO LOCATE IN WILLOW SPRINGS MORE THAN 3 DECADES AGO.

BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S ALL BEEN EASY. OPERATING A SMALL BUSINESS IN A SMALL TOWN HAS ITS CHALLENGES—FOR ONE, TRAFFIC FLOW IS MUCH SLOWER IN A SMALL TOWN THAN IN A LARGER CITY. AND IN NORMAN'S PARTICULAR BUSINESS, THERE ARE OTHER CHALLENGES.

STEVE NORMAN'S BUSINESS HAS BEEN VIABLE FOR A LONG TIME. HE ATTRIBUTES HIS SUCCESS AND TO BEING ABLE TO COMPETE WITH LARGER CHAIN STORES TO THE GOOD SERVICE THAT HE OFFERS HIS CUSTOMERS.

IN ANOTHER PART OF THE OZARKS, RICHARD HELGERSEN SERVES UP GOOD SERVICE TO HIS CUSTOMERS ALONG WITH THE BARBECUE AND SIDE DISHES THAT HE SELLS.

HELGERSEN OPENED UP RICHARD'S HAWG WILD BARBECUE MORE THAN 3 YEARS AGO IN AURORA.

HELGERSEN'S WIFE DONNA IS FROM AURORA AND HAS FAMILY THERE. SHE RECEIVED A JOB OFFER TO MOVE BACK THERE FROM LEE'S SUMMIT WHERE HELGERSEN WAS MANAGING A COMPANY...

MOVING TO A SMALL TOWN WASN'T A STRETCH FOR HELGERSEN—HE GREW UP IN A SMALL TOWN.

RICHARD HELGERSEN IS KNOWN FOR HIS GENEROSITY. IF SOMEONE NEEDS HELP, HE'S QUICK TO OFFER IT.

HELGERSEN GIVES AWAY A LOT OF FOOD—FOR THINGS LIKE SCHOOL EVENTS ACROSS THE OZARKS AND FUNDRAISERS. HE HOPES THAT WILL NOT ONLY HELP PEOPLE OUT, BUT ALSO INTRODUCE THEM TO HIS BARBECUE.

ON WEEKENDS, ABOUT 45% OF HELGERSEN'S BUSINESS COMES FROM OUT OF TOWN.

COOKING COMES NATURALLY TO HELGERSEN WHO HAS BEEN DOING SO SINCE HE WAS 10-YEARS-OLD AND BOTH HIS PARENTS WORKED.

THAT'S WHAT HELGERSEN CONTINUES TO DO TODAY—TRY HIS BEST TO PLEASE PEOPLE, IN PARTICULAR THE CUSTOMERS WHO COME TO HIS RESTAURANT.

BUSINESS IS WONDERFUL, ACCORDING TO HELGERSEN. HE ATTRIBUTES THAT, IN LARGE PART, TO HIS COMMITMENT TO NEVER DOING ANYTHING 2ND RATE.

HELGERSEN IS A BIG ADVOCATE FOR FAMILIES. HE'S BEEN KNOWN TO WALK A FUSSY BABY AROUND WHILE THE PARENTS ATE.

RICHARD HELGERSEN ISN'T WORRIED ABOUT A CHAIN RESTAURANT MOVING IN AND PUSHING HIM OUT OF AURORA. HE SAYS THAT'S BECAUSE HE'S SECURE IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT WHAT HE OFFERS IS GOOD.

RICHARD HELGERSEN'S BUSINESS IN AURORA AND STEVE NORMAN'S BUSINESS IN WILLOW SPRINGS ARE JUST TWO OF MANY SMALL BUSINESSES IN SMALL TOWNS ACROSS THE OZARKS. THOSE BUSINESSES ARE VITAL TO THE HEALTH OF THE TOWNS THEY'RE IN. JANE CARGILL, DIRECTOR OF THE SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER AT MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY, SAYS COMMUNITY MEMBERS REALIZE THAT.

ACCORDING TO CARGILL, IN THE LAST 10 TO 15 YEARS, SMALL BUSINESSES HAVE BEGUN TO CREATE MORE JOBS THAN LARGE CORPORATIONS.

THIS AFTERNOON AT 4:35 AS MAKING A DIFFERENCE WHERE YOU LIVE CONTINUES, WE'LL HEAR FROM OTHER SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS IN AREA SMALL TOWNS. AND JANE CARGILL, DIRECTOR OF MISSOURI STATE'S SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER, WILL GIVE ADVICE TO THOSE THINKING ABOUT STARTING UP THEIR OWN SMALL BUSINESS IN THE OZARKS..

THIS SERIES IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF THE OZARKS.

FOR KSMU, I'M MICHELE SKALICKY.