RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Vice President Kamala Harris is coming to the Triangle Thursday to highlight small business.
The Small Business Administration said 2021 and 2022 were the two best years for new business applications, with a combined 10.5 million applications.
The Hightide Salon in Raleigh opened its doors right at the start of the pandemic in March of 2020.
“It’s definitely been an extreme rollercoaster,” said the salon’s Owner Maggie Leonhardt.
Leonhardt said the pandemic challenges have made her stronger as a business owner. Her client list has grown over the past two and a half years. Now the latest challenge is the economy.
“I have noticed people spending less, stretching out their appointments more or just wanting to have a different approach to their hair styles that are less economic strain,” Leonhardt said.
One of her first challenges was getting the salon in the first place.
“It’s really hard for people like myself who are coming from their own backing and their own financial standpoint to have a place in Raleigh,” Leonhardt said.
That’s why she wants Harris to address the financial hardships of securing that perfect storefront.
“I hope that we don’t lose sight of as Raleigh grows the ability for mom-and-pop kind of businesses to be able to thrive here and I really hope they came up with solutions for that,” Leonhardt said.
Debra Fowler is the General Manager at Pupsi Inc. in Cary, which provides day-care, boarding, training, and grooming for dogs. She emphasized how vital small businesses are to the community and hopes that comes through in the Vice President’s visit.
“It’s all about community and everybody getting together and supporting small businesses instead of going these larger companies who are all over the place and everything ’cause, you know, you don’t want to see small businesses go away,” Fowler said.
Fowler said the business has been thriving since COVID with more people becoming pet owners, but they’ve also had to hire more employees, which hasn’t been easy.
The White House has not announced specific details about Harris’ visit yet.