Local businessman seeks Obama's help

March 16, 2009 7:53:19 PM PDT
President Obama is searching for ways to help small business owners and a Raleigh man has his ear.The President met with small business owners at the White House on Monday and thanks to a simple letter, a Raleigh businessman was there.

John Wilson owns a Raleigh cabinetry and interior design business. Like thousands of others, he is frustrated because he has been forced to cut 30 percent of his workforce, while fighting to stay afloat.

Wilson said it's hard for him to keep a credit line --putting his business and the 34 jobs left in jeopardy.

So Wilson turned to President Obama for help with a letter that started as a way to look for relief from lenders.

"I wrote a letter to President Obama out of frustration," NC Design Group John Wilson said. "We're just asking them to be reasonable about this and make some of that funding available to small businesses to keep really mainstream America alive and growing."

Then on Monday, in front of the President and in a room full of prominent lawmakers, Wilson shined attention on the problem.

"Now, John is not looking for a handout," Obama said. "He's looking for the opportunity to succeed. And he said it best himself in his letter, and I'm quoting from the letter here: "Small business people are incredibly resilient and resourceful given half a chance," he said. "But we need the chance."

President Obama is assuring aid to Wilson and other local business owners. He says the government will buy small business loans from banks to create liquidity in the marketplace. They'll reduce lending fees and increase loan guarantees and they'll ease the tax burden for business owners.

"It's a very solid plan that makes a lot a sense," Wilson said. "Small businesses will generate revenues, they'll be able to manage their business, they'll create profits, and they'll be able to put people back to work."

Wilson is hoping he can hire back some of the workers he has had to let go.

He told President Obama in his letter that that has been the hardest part and he's cried each time he's had to lay someone off.

"They were just good hardworking people that I simply had to let go because we don't have enough business to support them," Wilson said.


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