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Huntington Unveils "Be Small, Live Large" Campaign For Entrepreneurs

Reported: Apr. 28, 2014 2:18 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 28, 2014 2:58 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Darrah Wilcox) -- Laurie Fields knows first hand the overwhelming obstacles you can face when starting a business. She and a partner opened CommonGround Shoppes in Heritage Station about four years ago, after starting the business in Ashland.

"There are mountains of challenges when you first start," she said.

Fields and her business partner had a background in business, which she said made it a little easier, but not everyone has that advantage.

That is why last year, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams hired business liaison Sharon Pell to help small businesses to open, expand or relocate here.

Pell said it is important to "get some of that red tape away. You have to make people feel like this is something that we're encouraging, and not that it's another obstacle and we don't want them to do it."

The city unveiled a long-term plan Monday at the Robert C. Byrd Institute in downtown Huntington called "Huntington: Be Small, Live Large." It's aimed to support, promote and inspire. Several agencies will work together to help entrepreneurs better navigate the process.

Jeff Barnes, president and chief executive officer of The Barnes Agency, said the company recently expanded its Teays Valley operation to Huntington, Barnes said the transition was very smooth.

"What they've done is they've put a system in place that makes people feel comfortable, and they make people feel welcome. They embrace new businesses and people that are wanting to establish new businesses in Huntington," he said. "There's just a lot of positive energy that's taking place in downtown Huntington, and we're excited to be a part of it."

Fields, who has "been there, done that," said to be patient.

"It's a very long-term goal. Don't think you're going to grow overnight. Don't think you're going to overcome all the obstacles overnight. Just be patient and be prepared for the long haul," she said.



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