Local business owners hope Obama visit highlights their importance to city success
In just three days, President Obama will head to the Scenic City to kick off his Better Bargain for the Middle Class tour at the Amazon fulfillment center.
The speech is said to focus on manufacturing and high wage jobs, but many local entrepreneurs hope his visit will highlight the importance of small businesses to the city.
Polly Henry has owned All Books on Broad Street for more than 20 years. Her shop features used books, yarn and spinning, and even free knitting for kids. She said Chattanooga has been good for her business in recent years.
"We're just fixing to explode. People came here during Katrina, and they never went any further. Chattanooga has a lot going for it," Henry said.
That's why she thinks President Obama chose Chattanooga to kick off his series of speeches.
Eric Cummings is the co-owner of one of Chattanooga's newest businesses. Enzo's Market opened its doors to the city's south side in May, and it employs 65 people. He says it's the community that's giving Enzo's its successful start.
"We have a very community-centric population, really; people care about and want to patronize businesses that are locally owned," Cummings said.
He hopes President Obama will see that small, local businesses create the momentum for larger ones.
"The fact that we're locally-minded has made us attractive to national companies as well," Cummings said.
While Obama's speech is supposed to focus on manufacturing, high wage jobs and plans to jump start the private sector, Cummings hopes his policies will also focus on helping small businesses get access to money.
"Once that gets flowing again, and I think he can do a lot to get that flowing, we're going to see a lot more building, a lot more small businesses opening up, and a lot more business expansion," he said.
For business owners like Henry, she thinks president's visit should make everyone proud of the Scenic City.
"It's because we're moving along successfully, don't you think? He wanted to come see what we're doing here," she said.
The President's speech will be closed to the public, but you can count on Channel 3 to bring you live team coverage of his entire visit.