Shaheen met with over thirty small business owners to hear their concerns and discuss the challenges small businesses face in this economy

February 23, 2009

(Salem, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today concluded a three-day tour of small businesses across New Hampshire at a roundtable with local small business owners at More Space Place, a family-owned and operated small business in Salem. Shaheen, who serves on the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, traveled to seven towns and met with over thirty small business owners on the tour to listen to their first-hand accounts of how the economic crisis has affected their businesses.


“Small businesses are the engine that drives New Hampshire’s economy, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet with such a broad cross-section of inspiring small business owners and leaders across the state during this tour,” said Shaheen. “From the energy company in Concord that’s having a hard time finding financing for an expansion to the homebuilding business in Claremont confronting uncertainty in the housing market, small businesses are facing unique and serious challenges in this economic crisis. The economic recovery package was a good first step toward economic strength, but there’s much more work to do. I’m committed to making sure we support New Hampshire’s small businesses as I continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to strengthen the economy.”


“We were glad Senator Shaheen visited us at More Space Place today to hear about the challenges we face in this economic crisis,” said Keith Belair, owner of More Space Place in Salem. “Being an owner of a business that relies heavily on discretionary spending, I have seen sales grind almost to a halt. In today's economy, there are other things that take priority for our customers, but unfortunately, business expenses such as rent and utility payments don't stop simply because business has become slow. We’re glad to know that Senator Shaheen understands these challenges as she works in the U.S. Senate.” 


The roundtable in Salem was the seventh and final visit on Shaheen’s three-day small business tour that included visits to Nylon Corporation of America in Manchester, the Hannah Grimes Center and Market in Keene, Preferred Building Systems in Claremont, a small business roundtable in Portsmouth, and a meeting with business owners and tour of the Energy Services and Technology program at the Lakes Region Community College in Laconia.


Earlier in the tour, Shaheen visited Concord Steam Corporation’s proposed new location for an expanded energy plant in Concord to discuss the possible benefits for the company from the economic recovery package.  Concord Steam uses renewable forest byproducts, natural gas and recycled waste oil to generate steam, and a provision that Shaheen urged to be included in the final recovery package may allow them to get a grant equal to 30% of the cost of its expansion in lieu of the investment tax credit.


“We were glad Senator Shaheen visited Concord Steam, where we’ve been a leader in using renewable fuel in New Hampshire ever since we built the first wood-fired district energy plant in the United States 30 years ago,” said Vice President of Concord Steam Mark Saltsman. “We need progressive thinkers like Senator Shaheen who realize the need for energy independence. We look forward to working with Senator Shaheen to move this project forward so we can not only improve our chances as a nation to be less dependent on foreign oil but also to assist with reviving the economy as we put people to work building, operating and maintaining this renewable fuel facility.”

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Alex Reese