Out of 748 businesses in Cass County in 2011, how many could be classified small businesses?
If you’re talking to the U.S. Small Business Administration, nearly all of them: 745.
The SBA is observing National Small Business Week starting today, and to that agency, any business employing less than 500 people is considered a small business, said Monty Henderson, a business advisor in the local Indiana Small Business Development Center based in West Lafayette and Kokomo.
Even by other standards — say, businesses with 50 employees or fewer — Cass County’s businesses are mostly small. In 2011, 708 businesses employed fewer than 50 people. More than 360 had fewer than five employees.
Most people Henderson talks to are surprised by the number of small businesses in Cass County, he said. That may be in part because many of Cass County’s small businesses aren’t retailers.
“Small is different to many people. Small may be a mom-and-pop place,” he explained, but in Logansport many small businesses are manufacturing entities “that hire a lot of people and add a lot of wealth to the community.”
“Those tend to be a lot of the movers and shakers,” Henderson said. Their administrators participate in local economic development initiatives and sometimes as elected officials, he said. “They provide a lot of knowledge and continuity and really help drive the success of the community.”
Compared to larger companies, he added, small business owners’ involvement is greater.
“It’s pretty rare that you would see CEO’s and COO’s and heads of departments participate at the community level like small business owners do,” Henderson said.
In turn, one local small business owner says the business climate in Logansport favors smaller establishments.
Anthony Carmichael, owner of Carmichael Electric and a member of the Logansport-Cass County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, said he’s encouraged by the prevalence of small businesses in the area.