Business

Small is Big for Wake County Business Starts

Posted December 26, 2007 7:18 p.m. EST

— Wake County is a popular locale for entrepreneurs looking to open a business.

Employment rates in the county are rising among small food and retail stores. For example, Baker's Dozen, which opened last week, is one of Raleigh's newest small businesses.

After years in food service, Steve Abourisk decided to open his own bakery. With his wife and children at his side, he plans to make "mom and pop" part of his sales strategy.

"The north Raleigh market is starving for a bakery, I think," Abourisk said. "(We plan to) focus on the quality of the product and the people. The people behind this counter are critical to the whole chemistry of this thing working."

Raleigh Running Outfitters has grown from two to seven employees in its four and a half years in business. Owner Jim Micheels said he picked the market after his first retail attempt failed in Charlottesville, Va.

"We did more research and homework and found the Raleigh market could support such a store," Micheels said.

The Triangle has a healthy economy for small businesses because of the big business that's already here, such as the major universities, technology sector and health care industry, said Mike Walden, an economist with North Carolina State University. But he said small business survival remains a tough sell.

"You tend to see lots of small business starts when the economic area is growing," Walden said. "My best advice is to ask why would people come buy from you instead of a competitor. What are your sales, and can you cover your costs?"

A downturn in the housing industry, retail sales and manufacturing nationally will likely slow North Carolina's economy through early next year, according to observers.