TRAVERSE CITY — Twenty-four years as president and CEO of Alfie Logo Gear made Bonnie Alfonso ready for her next year as leader of the Small Business Association of Michigan.
“Being able to run my own business, being responsible for making sure I’m providing great jobs with benefits and taking care of my employees prepares me very well for this role,” Alfonso said.
Alfonso was appointed chair of SBAM at its annual luncheon on June 19 after five years on the board.
SBAM advocates for small businesses in state and national politics, and informs small business owners of policies that affect them. Alfonso said easing taxes for small businesses and capping healthcare costs for business owners are top priorities.
A report released June 18 by the U.S. Small Business Administration report shows Michigan’s economy grew in 2013, in part thanks to small businesses that employed more than 1.7 million people last year. The state’s unemployment dropped by .5 percent from December 2012 to December 2013 and its gross state product increased by 2.2 percent.
Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce Chief Operating Officer Laura Oblinger said northwest Michigan contributed to that improvement, but warns consumers, business owners and legislators to keep collaborating to improve the state’s financial future.
“As consumer you have to continue to support and demand local production,” she said. “As someone who owns a business you have to stand up for what you believe you need to make your business profitable and retain it here in Michigan. As legislators and government officials you cannot let up on the gas.”