Business blossoms and bustles in the month of May: Sun Messages

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SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio — Small businesses have always intrigued me. As a little girl walking to and from home and Coventry School in Cleveland Heights, an array of shops would tempt and entice. This was mainly before Coventry was a “village” and modern. It was old-worldish, so no wonder my parents chose the location.

For my sisters and I, it was a healthy 2-mile trek daily — no wonder we had such sturdy legs! And so fun to look in the shop windows, noticing the store’s wares — from flowers to hardware to pastries to, eventually, bicycles!

There was the drugstore where I got a pretzel for one penny. An early lesson in commerce and courtesy. Little matches the salty aroma of that nice container when it was opened. And how delicious a pretzel would taste when walking — an easy-to-carry finger food. I ate, as we would say now, mindfully.

And the donut shop, a less frequent spot to visit, boasted flavors fresh from the fryer. If there is food in heaven, let’s politely request donuts. Entering the whole store, upon opening the door, a waft of freshly baked donuts washed over me. Have you read that the smell of baking bread can be good for you?

My family, like many immigrants, watched all its pennies. Yet, I had the riches of these stores — and the charming Coventry library and the Forest Hills Park — within reach. I could not wish for a better combination of such features now and into retirement.

Virtual conference: I’ve had a small business for a time, both in my home and in the community, and I know a bit of what it takes to persevere. I’m so glad that National Small Business Week is here!

During these sunny days in May, the U.S. Small Business Administration shines a spotlight on our nation’s 30 million small businesses.

An idea: Participate in the free National Small Business Week Virtual Conference May 7-8 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It will include exclusive educational webinars, mentoring sessions, networking opportunities, downloadable resources and prizes. Industry experts will speak, such as those from Visa, Chase, Constant Contact, Square and Google, about the latest business trends and best practices.

Register now. And join @SBAgov for the National Small Business Week Twitter Chat at noon May 10 to get entrepreneurial tips and advice on how to grow a business, with hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek.

And even more business: The Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Business Expo from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday (May 9) at 700 Beta Banquet and Conference Center in Mayfield.

HRCC is the chamber of commerce for Cleveland Heights, Lyndhurst, Richmond Heights, Shaker Heights, South Euclid and University Heights, and has been strengthening commerce in the eastern suburban area since 1948.

This year marks HRCC’s 25th annual Business Expo, making it the area’s most well-known and longest-running business show. Each spring, hundreds of local businesses gather at this award-winning event to showcase their services and products. And it’s a great place to network and connect with other passionate business peers.

HRCC’s business show attracts more than 85 premier exhibitors and is supported by sponsors such as Dollar Bank, Fastsigns Lyndhurst, Heights Libraries, Planet Fitness and Q Audio Visual. Consider the potential of more than 400 attendees annually. You can still be one!

HRCC has created a buzzing atmosphere for connecting professionals, retailers, service providers, civic leaders, potential vendors, marketers, restaurants and more.

“We’re so proud to celebrate a quarter-century of the Expo, and we’re planning it with all the passion and flair of a first-year event,” said Expo Co-Chair Maureen O’Hanlon. “Our attendees’ time is precious, so we’re crafting an afternoon that feels fun, with the networking value you’ve come to expect with the Expo. I’m also pleased to announce we are sold out!”

Bring colleagues and business cards, as admission is free with a business card.

For more information about HRCC and this event, visit hrcc.org or call (216) 397-7322.

Veteran-friendly: Webinars make learning convenient and easy. No parking hassles, no overly packed schedule. If your business is interested, check out the Veteran-Friendly Business Enterprise Webinar to be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday, May 13.

This program is free, but registration is required. Register by email to mike@vetbizcentral.org or by calling 810-767-8387. Veterans in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana may participate in this webinar; Ohio residency is not a requirement of the VBE program.

Topics covered will include eligibility, certification process and next steps. The State of Ohio’s Veteran-Friendly Business Enterprise (VBE) program provides preference or bonus points to certified companies that compete to contract with our state.

For additional information, check out the Cleveland branch of the U.S. Small Business Association at www.sba.gov/oh/cleveland or call 216-522-4180.

Purchase perennials: You can benefit from starter plants, lovingly grown by Hillcrest-area residents in their own gardens. This annual event helps keep our area green and beautiful.

I’m referring to the Lyndhurst Garden Club Perennial Sale! Get there early, as the event starts at 8 a.m. and continues until noon on Saturday, May 25. These plants are affordable! And note that Garden Club members will be available to answer all your questions to ensure the plant’s seamless transition to a new home.

Visit a local landmark, the Little Red Schoolhouse at 1532 Richmond Road, Lyndhurst, and park for free behind the South Euclid-Lyndhurst schools’ administration building.

Note that proceeds from the sale benefit Garden Club projects, civic donations and community events. Little is more symbolic than bringing a new plant to your home. Be green, be creative.

Our column: Make this space more fully yours by contributing your Sun Messages of local events, achievements, promotions, honors and awards. I’d love to hear from you. Contact mariashinestewart@gmail.com No PDFs, please. Submissions in the body of an email or as Word attachments preferred, and put “Sun Messages” in the subject line for quickest response.

Read more news from the Sun Messenger here.



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