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'The best way to strengthen community is to support these local businesses'

Since 1963, the first week of May has been known as National Small Business Week. The Main Street Alliance is celebrating what small businesses contribute to the Springfield community. (SBG)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Since 1963, the first week of May has been known as National Small Business Week.

The Main Street Alliance is celebrating what small businesses contribute to the Springfield community.

"More of a connection than sort of your box big chain stores," said Charlie Hester, co-owner of the Washburn Cafe. "The best way to strengthen community is to support these local businesses."

Small businesses create about 2 out of every 3 new jobs in the U.S. each year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Hester said Springfield is a great place to start and grow a business.

"Thirty somethings can just start a business here and the city is supportive of it," he said. "They want it to happen."

The Alliance kicked off small business month in Lane County at the café Tuesday.

"Small business is one of the fastest growing industries," said Amber Halbert, a community organizer with the Main Street Alliance. "We want everyone to thrive not just survive."

One example of a business resource the alliance facilitates is called Waitrainer.

"I think anything we can do where we put small businesses on even footing with the larger businesses is really going to help our culture," said Todd Edman, CEO of Waitrainer. "It's going to help our country be successful."

The Alliance plans to hold a Shop Your Values initiative this week to help you find shops that share your views.

"Really cool for downtown Springfield," Hester said, "because I still think there's a lot of people that don't know there are a lot of businesses here."

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