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Shaheen, small-business group tour city company

NASHUA - W.H. Bagshaw Co. is a family business that started in the city in 1870 and now is run by fifth-generation members of the Bagshaw family.

This type of small, family-owned business is what the state needs more of, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said Monday during a tour of the Pine Street operation that manufactures wire products and machine parts.

Ninety percent of businesses in New Hampshire employ 100 or fewer workers, Shaheen said.

Shaheen scheduled the tour to introduce a 26-member, small-business advisory council that will advise the senator on issues and concerns of small-business owners.

Aaron and Adria Bagshaw, president and vice president, respectively, of W.H. Bagshaw, will serve on the council. Two other council members attended the tour: Jim Grady, president of LighTec Inc., in Merrimack; and Ginny Jawidzik, owner of Omega Smart, in Londonderry.

Also attending the tour was state Rep. Michael O'Brien, D-Nashua, and Hollis McGuire, manager of the N.H. Small Business Development Center regional office at Daniel Webster College in Nashua.

Aaron Bagshaw showed off phonograph needles that his company still produces for antique stereos. Other products made at the 18-employee company include carpet pins, high-tech machine parts and pins used for cymbals on drum sets.

"We've made a huge transition into modern manufacturing products," Aaron Bagshaw said.

The council will advise Shaheen on issues regarding financing, health-care costs and other concerns small businesses face. One issue Shaheen said she's working on is amending legislation that would provide protection to individual credit card holders so that the protection extends to small businesses.

Small businesses used to be defined as companies that employ as many as 500 workers, Grady said.

"That's a big small," he said. His company designs and constructs energy-efficient lighting for schools and businesses.

"Health care is my biggest No. 1 expense," Grady said.

He said he worries about the expense for his workers, whose share of health-care contributions have risen from 25 to 50 percent.