As secretary of state and Kentucky's chief business official, helping the businesses that keep Kentucky going and growing is one of my top priorities.
Meeting business owners around the state, I have listened to them and learned about their business models, their plans for growth, and also their struggles.
Every day, I think about ways to help Kentucky businesses open, expand, and prosper, because when they do, Kentucky prospers, too.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday to recognize small and family businesses, entrepreneurs, and local servicers and retailers in Kentucky and across the country.
As you plan your holiday shopping, I encourage you to participate in Small Business Saturday and support local businesses throughout the season.
Like public service, small business runs in my blood. My grandparents Omar and Elsie Case made a living establishing and operating a men's clothing store in downtown Maysville for nearly 40 years.
Growing up, my sisters and I learned the value of hard work through helping our parents build a business of their own. And now, one of my sisters owns her own local clothing store in tribute to our grandparents.
Supporting small businesses means supporting Kentucky. According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 341,000 small businesses in the commonwealth.
They are the backbone of our economy and represent almost every segment of it: retail, manufacturing, health care, construction, and more.
These businesses create jobs and economic opportunity in every community and contribute to our tax bases to pay for police and fire departments, schools, and other vital services.
Small businesses employ about half of the commonwealth's private workforce. They created more than 2,500 new jobs in Kentucky in 2011.
When you shop with them or use their services, you help pay the salary of a fellow Kentuckian and make sure they can support their family.
So this weekend, my husband, Andrew, and I will be shopping small to support Kentucky's entrepreneurs and local and family-owned businesses.
I hope you'll gather your family, friends, and neighbors and shop small, too. Let's do our part to support Kentucky business.