Ensuring the future of Acworth's small and local businesses.
I started my business iLoveKare after discovering my passion for serving and advocating for aging adults – starting with my great-grandmother, Ella Colenburg, and her friends. I went on to work as a personal care home as a live-in director.
This work inspired me to start a platform of my own to continue providing care for the elderly: After 20 years of experience, I founded iLoveKare in 2013. Owning and running a small business of my own, has given me the skills and experience to understand what it takes to sustain that business – including its employees and its impact on the surrounding community.
Local business owners and employees in Acworth know this firsthand, too. Small businesses are a crucial part of Acworth’s local culture, and our community wouldn’t be the same without the passionate and hardworking people who decided to step out on an idea or act on a desire to serve others with their unique gifts and talents.
Local businesses in Acworth
As we’ve seen through the work of organizations like the Acworth Business Association or at community events like Taste of Acworth, small businesses (and even larger businesses and companies who choose to establish a presence in Acworth and employ Acworth residents) are a vital part of what keeps this city thriving.
To put that in context – Acworth has increased its job market by 2.9% over last year. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 46% which is higher than the United States predicted growth rate of 33% (source).
Additionally, our business ecosystem has had many positive impacts on recent development in the community. For example, new active aging adult facilities like Acworth Holbrook Senior living activity and Celebration Village Acworth create jobs and allow families to age in place.
As Acworth Alderwoman, my goal is to continue that growth and development, and also keep Acworth on a positive path to rebuilding through the COVID-19 pandemic.
I recently spoke with a local business owner who was curious to know about my plan for Acworth’s local businesses – specifically its restaurants since Acworth's largest economic resource is the restaurant industry.
I would like local business owners to know that my plan is to keep Acworth's unemployment low by welcoming locally owned businesses that will continually grow a diverse demographic of business owners and employees.
To accomplish this, I will support programs, initiatives, and policies that...
Ensure current and future locally owned businesses feel welcomed and heard.
From town hall meetings, think tanks, and online forums – I want to hear directly from the people and businesses most impacted by the Board of Aldermen’s decisions. What do they believe would help sustain workers? How can we better support those who may not be readily coming back to work within the restaurant and hospitality industries?
Help businesses stay open and retain workers.
I want to collaborate with businesses on creative strategies to ensure they are reflecting the changing preferences and behaviors of the communities they serve. Their offerings and relationships with the broader community must demonstrate a desire to listen, understand, and be responsive when engaging with their customers and communities, especially post-COVID. Companies will have no choice but to reimagine the customer experience for the realities of this new normal, and I want to stand with them every step of the way. The Board of Aldermen must continue to be responsive to this, just as they were with the CARES grant for small businesses. This type of support will not only help small businesses adapt to changing demands from customers – including technology and safety measures.
Support businesses' growth and success with collaborative, creative, and innovative solutions.
Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses will need to actively engage with customers new and old to communicate how they’re taking steps to protect their customer’s health. For example, we must offer small and/or local restaurants the same ability to implement using smartphone apps to bypass the lines or create no-touch ordering. Even though this would remove the personal touch that traditionally played a key role in the overall customer experience, we must recreate experiences to ensure businesses can maintain their customer base and stay afloat.
Businesses – as they normally would – will also need to continue to find ways to deliver a unique experience in order to differentiate themselves, strengthen their customer relationships, build customer loyalty, and retain their brand. Another example – in Atlanta, The Garden Room is a small plate restaurant. However, when you enter the room it stimulates your five senses. The coverings on the seats have different patterns, while the DJ spins her tunes all while the smell of flowers and sound of water is in your periphery. A string of lights borders the tree decor but not with too much stimulation to cause interruptions to others. The restaurant is so unique you will take pictures and post and brag about the experience you just witnessed, which ultimately allows the restaurant to share the experience with more people and potential customers. The people of Acworth deserve similar dining experiences right here in our community.
I say all of this because we saw or were directly impacted by the devastation that COVID-19 presented to small and local businesses. Larger businesses and companies took a major hit as well but were more easily able to adapt. What steps are we taking as a community to ensure smaller businesses have the same support and resources to adapt as well?
It’s not just about helping businesses one-up the “competition.” It’s about guaranteeing the future of Acworth, Cobb County, and Georgia through the power of small and local businesses.
One of Acworth’s advantages is its growing and diversified economy. Our diversified economy is required for sustaining and increasing economic growth. This diverse economy includes bigger companies that bring fun experiences and opportunities to our residents, AND it includes small, yet mighty businesses that need local government officials to advocate for and support them.
I believe that we are in a great position to create a new experience for not only our customers but our community at large. The pandemic is driving changes to customer behavior and we must pivot to seize new opportunities for our future.
As a small business owner myself, I recognize the importance of focusing on this important aspect of the economy and community. It takes passion and courage to put yourself out there to start a business, but it takes support from the community – and especially the Board of Aldermen – to have the resources to really thrive. As Alderwoman, I plan to continue the Board’s amazing record of supporting Acworth’s small businesses and to continue to be a personal advocate for their success.
Shout out to all of Acworth’s amazing local businesses! Our city wouldn’t be what it is without you!