Georgia's business climate ranks high - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia's business climate ranks high

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

July 28, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - With a slumping economy, some businesses are suffering or being forced to close their doors for good. People are simply spending less money and unemployment is up.

But even with the current economic situation, Georgia just might be one of the best places to stay in business or open up a new one. A new study ranks Georgia as the third-best state for business. A new Albany entrepreneur hopes that ranking rings true.

In the bustling area of Ledo Road, dozens of cars roll by. That's where new businesses are popping up and owners are hoping drivers will stop in. "It's been a little slow with the Summer," said Cindy Horne.

A fairly new shopping center on Ledo Road is where you'll find Cindy Horne. She's new to business ownership. "A little over two months now," said Horne.

It was hard work, but she's now the face and name behind Cindy's Gourmet To Go. "Went back to school and got my culinary degree and decided this is what I wanted to do," said Horne.

Pre-made entrees is what she does and she's hoping it sticks with customers. Business ownership is a risk, especially when the economy is in question. "It is a worry. It's definitely a worry and when you have slow days you just think about what you're going to do and it makes you work harder to get people through the door," said Horne.

A new study by Development Counselors International actually found that Georgia is the third best state to operate a business.  That's based on the labor market, operating costs, and pro-business climate.

"You have your hit and miss nationwide but here in Georgia you have a very strong pro-business climate because of the Governor's initiatives, the entrepreneur friendly communities," said Thelma Johnson, President/CEO of Albany Community Together, Inc.

The city of Albany has plenty of resources to help. Albany Community Together helps to provide financial opportunities and guidance. "From writing a business plan to understanding the financials and going to the bank and asking for the loan," said Johnson.

Johnson says right now is actually a good time to pursue business dreams in Georgia. "Because anytime you have a down economy, it gets back to what makes this country so great and that's entrepreneurship. During the industrial revolution, people were willing to take a risk to create new opportunities," said Johnson.

Horne hopes a first earned dollar she now has in a frame will grow leaps and bounds. "I'm taking baby steps right now," said Horne.

As she takes those steps, she's hoping customers will meet her halfway.

Texas and North Carolina topped the list. Tennessee and Florida rounded out the top five. If you'd like help opening up a small business here in Albany, you can call ACT at 229-420-4600.  

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