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Hagan Meets With Brushy Mountain Bee Farm Owners, Contenders For U.S. Small Business Person of Year

Hagan with the owners of Brush Mountain Bee Farm


June 20, 2013. U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (NC) yesterday met with North Carolina’s Small Business Persons of the Year, Steve and Sandy Forrest and Shane Gebauer of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm in Moravian Falls. The Brushy Mountain Bee Farm is one of the nation’s largest manufacturers and retailers of beekeeping supplies.

Steve, Sandy and Shane are contenders for the National Small Business Person of the Year Award, which will be announced Friday in Washington. Earlier this week, Hagan, a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, honored Small Business Week. To read her statement, scroll below. 

“The Brushy Mountain Bee Farm is a perfect example of the innovative small businesses that drive North Carolina’s economy,” said Hagan. “Steve and Sandy built their business from the ground up – growing a two-person home operation into a 70-person business that ships its products all over the world. It was an honor to meet with Steve, Sandy and Shane, and I know they will make North Carolina proud this week at the National Small Business Awards. I will continue working on measures that help our hardworking small business owners thrive, hire more workers and grow North Carolina’s economy.”

“The success of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm is the result of support we have received from the North Carolina Department and Commerce, Industrial Extension Service, and Small Business Technology Development Center,” said Gebauer. “We believe the best way tune up business and increase jobs in North Carolina is working with small businesses. The IES and SBTDC has helped increase the efficiency and profitability of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm enabling us to increase our market share, expand our operations, and hire new employees. Senator Hagan is an advocate for small business and programs from which they can benefit.”

The Forrests started the Brushy Mountain Bee Farm out of their home in 1977, where it quickly became a full-time business offering a full line of beekeeping equipment including hives, tools and protective clothing. Today, the Brushy Mountain Bee Farm employs 70 people and ships its products to customers in the U.S. and abroad, both from its original operation site in Moravian Falls and a second branch in Pennsylvania. The company continues to grow, this year opening a new 21,000 square foot production facility in North Wilkesboro to expand product output, develop new products and hire more workers.

“I’m particularly proud to know another small manufacturer in our state whose products are shipped around the globe,” added Hagan. “Growing our state’s exports is key to creating more jobs for North Carolinians, and ‘Made in North Carolina’ are my four favorite words.”

Small businesses such as Brushy Mountain Bee Farm represent more than 98 percent of North Carolina’s private-sector employers and account for nearly half of all jobs in the state.

During her time in the Senate, Hagan has worked to support small businesses in North Carolina. She recently formed her Small Business Advisory Committee, made up of small business owners and advocates from across the state, to advise her on legislative issues and assist her in the development of policy proposals to support North Carolina’s small business community.

The Advisory Committee builds on Hagan’s bipartisan efforts that are already helping small businesses grow and hire workers. Since coming to the Senate, she supported measures that increase access to capital for small business owners looking to grow their companies, she helped pass the Jumpstart Our Businesses Startups (JOBS) Act, which makes it easier for companies to raise money, go public and hire more workers, and she fought for the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which has supported $2 billion in export sales by 165 North Carolina companies, the majority of which are small businesses.

Click here to read an HCPress.com article on the Brushy Mountain Bee Farm winning N.C. Small Business People of the Year. 

Hagan’s Statement Recognizing National Small Business Week

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today released the following statement recognizing National Small Business Week, which began June 17:

“I’m proud to support the 800,000 small businesses that represent more than 98 percent of our state’s private sector employers and nearly half of all jobs in North Carolina. We’re fortunate that so many incredible innovators and entrepreneurs take the chance to start a company and contribute to our economy, our community and our culture. We celebrate these men and women during Small Business Week, and I’m fortunate that many of them are providing me with feedback and suggestions to help small businesses as members of my Small Business Advisory Committee.

”With their diverse experience and advice, I will build on my bipartisan efforts that are already helping small businesses grow and hire more workers, such as passing legislation to help companies raise capital and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank to support $2 billion in exports sales by 165 North Carolina companies. I will continue pushing legislation that would reduce the paperwork burden businesses face when seeking federal funding, permanently extend the 15-year depreciation tax credit, and train workers for jobs available now.

“As we celebrate Small Business Week, I encourage North Carolinians to support their local small businesses not just this week, but all year long. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on measures that will help these companies thrive, hire North Carolinians and boost our state’s economy.”