Small Businesses Grow in Ozark

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

With more people out of work, many are turning their unemployment into small business ventures.

Residents in the city of Ozark are catching on and trying it for themselves.

Some say it could be a win-win for both business owners and the city.

Bill Hensley and his girlfriend are turning fragrances into a profit in downtown Ozark.

The Southern Lighthouse has been open for less than a year and getting there wasn't a breeze.

"I would have to say that is was very hard," Hensley said.

With that being said, Hensley said he wanted to open the shop were he lived. It was a chance to bring more to the city he calls home.

However, he's not the only one taking a leap of faith.

Ozark Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jeanette Reeves said, "It is helping. In the last couple of months our tax revenues have been up. So we're real pleased with that."

Reeves says within the past year, at least 15 new businesses have opened.

William Canary, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama said, "I think that what we're seeing now is in the economy, there is a slight increase of improvement in the climate, which is creating a better climate for opportunities of growth."

Speaking with members of the community, Canary says his objective is to bring helpful ideas on how to make businesses in areas like Ozark thrive.

"[We want to] try to find ways to make it easier for people to sign the front of a paycheck so others can sign the back of a paycheck," Canary said, all while helping those out of work create new lines of employment.

In creating more businesses, Canary is putting more emphasis on education.

He says more needs to be done to lower the 40% drop-out rate in Alabama.

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