Small businesses are the key to Maine’s well-being. They compose a significant share of the state’s economic production and hiring. According to the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, Maine’s businesses have shown signs of stability and improvement. In 2008, small businesses totaled 147,484. Of those, 33,926 were employers, and they accounted for 59.7% of private sector jobs in the state. Who better to have first hand knowledge of the hardships and benefits of owning a small businesses than some of our very own Maine state legislators?
Senate President Justin Alfond founded Bayside Bowl in 2010. Located in Portland, Bayside Bowl is a bowling ally that is all about fun, but also takes their bowling very seriously. Not only are they a USBC certified bowling alley with 12 lanes, but offer an award winning menu for those who are looking for a snack on the lanes, or just a great place to eat dinner. In 2011, they were voted Best New Restaurant by the Phoenix Reader’s Poll.
The interest in opening a bowling alley came from Alfond’s time spent at Tulane University in New Orleans. “There was this incredible bowling alley called Rock and Bowl. It was a combination of bowling, music, and great food,” Alfond remembers. “I really felt that Portland could absolutely have something like that. It was a great coincidence that my now business partner was starting up a bowling league at the time. We felt that this was something we could succeed at.”
Alfond feels everyone who comes up to the state senate brings their own unique experiences to the table. “Growing up in central Maine with a family that has a long history of manufacturing and business, and with my own experience in real estate and this bowling alley I feel has made me a better legislature,” Alfond states. “With my own experiences I feel I can relate and understand better the suggestions and ideas that are coming from the state.“I love that I can be here in Maine, invest my capital here, hire people, give them great benefits, and help them provide for themselves and their families,” Alfond remarks. “The best part of owning a small business in Maine is the combination of having great people and the unbelievable atmosphere they create every day. People really make our business great.”
Senate President Alfond isn’t the only senator to dabble in the small business world. A few other Senators who own small businesses in Maine include Senator James Boyle with Boyle Associates, Senator Michael Thibodeau with T B Equipment, Senator Dawn Hill with It’s A Dog’s World, and Senator John Cleveland with Community Dynamics Corp.
According to Forbes, the House Committee on Small Business is made up of many small business owners who try to enact legislation that helps small businesses grow. New York Rep. Richard Hanna is quoted as saying “The premise is that we have a lot of influence on the growth on the economy and I think this is true…As a guy who’s been in business for the past 30 years I believe our economy has declined for a host of reasons due to bureaucracy. People, particularly small business owners, are starting to push back and the committee can help!”