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Georgia business climate is sunny

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August 17, 2006

Albany --  If you want to start your own business, a new study says Georgia is a good place to do it.

Forbes Magazines recently ranked Georgia as one of the ten best states for entreprenuers to open up shop.

We talked to one business owner this evening who traveled out of state to bring his business to Georgia. He says as more people do what he's done, it will only fuel Georgia's economy.

Art Johnson enjoys being his own boss.  "I love what I do. I'm the photographer for Ms. Georgia. That's a lot of fun. I do a lot of pageant type stuff. You're photographing great looking women you couldn't ask for any better than that," says Johnson.

He owns "Memories in Minutes," a photography business he started twenty years ago in Albany. "It's been a real joy to build it from scratch and watch it grow," says Johnson. 

He traveled hundreds of miles from Texas to bring his business to life. "The Texas economy looked really bad when we got ready to open our business, and so the Georgia economy looked a little bit better," says Johnson.

"Georgia is very progressive minded in supporting the small business base," says David Dunn.  He is with the state's Small Business Development Center. He says there are several reasons why Georia ranks high on the list when it comes to starting up a business.

"Georgia's labor pool is used to less higher wages," he says. Meaning it costs business owners less money to pay employees.

Dunn says weather is also another factor. "The year round weather for one thing, the climate itself, is attractive in Georgia,"  he says.

As more businesses open up, it gives a big boost to the state's growing economy. "Roughly ninety percent of all jobs is being created by the small business community. So the small business is the backbone of any economic community," says Dunn.

 Photographer Art Johnson agrees. "The small business man is what makes the American economy roll," he says.

Johnson shows no signs of slowing down. He doesn't consider his job an actual JOB, but more of a hobby. "It's been said if a man likes what he does he never has to go to work again," says Johnson.

He hopes to keep bringing out the best in people for many more years to come. "Making people's memories come alive, there's just a great joy in that," says Johnson.

Other factors the Forbes study looked at when ranking the states included: living costs, job and income growth, and capital money being spent in a particular region.

 Recently, one economist rated Georgia's economic outlook the best in the nation and Site Selection magazine placed Georgia third in its annual business climate rankings.

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