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Small businesses pushing the Pennsylvania economy forward

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It’s estimated that there are one million small businesses in Pennsylvania. This week is National Small Business Week and gives us a chance to shine the light on the little guy.

Jobs is the big driver. Out of those one million small businesses, they employ over 2.4 million Pennsylvanians.

At the West Shore Plaza in Lemoyne, Cumberland County, out of the 23 stores, 13 are small businesses, bringing jobs and a boost to the local economy.

“Our niche is custom design, working with the customers, taking their heirloom jewelry and repurposing it into something new and more beautiful,” said Kristin Novinger, owner of K Novinger Jewelry.

If bling is your thing, Kristin Novinger is your gal. K Novinger Jewelry in Lemoyne specializes in creating and building custom pieces. Seventy-five percent of her inventory is her designs constructed by her artisan jeweler.

“My name is on the wall so you can trust us,” Novinger said.

Novinger’s dream is a prime example of small business in action. Her creativity and vision employs six people. Her devoted customers make the economy go round.

“We have a great community that supports us and that's huge,” she said.

“I hope the next five years is as good as the last five have been,” said Duane Kennedy, owner of the West Shore Plaza Barber Shop.

Just down the row at the West Shore Plaza, a barber pole marks 59 years of business for Kennedy.

“We have been going strong,” he said.

Kennedy is the third generation to own the West Shore Plaza Barber Shop. A seat in this chair is a step back in time. His customers are faithful, some bringing kids and grandkids to get a trim.

“We see some new faces. Of course, we have our reliable customers that I've been coming for years and years,” Kennedy said.

Since 1995, small businesses are responsible for growing 65 percent of the net new jobs across the United States, showing they may be small in stature but vital to the community.

“Giving back to those local charities around us is truly important. Because then it's one big family all working together,” Novinger said.

Keeping with that family feel, several of the tenants I spoke with at the West Shore Plaza talked about the family environment at the shopping center. Many market together trying to promote each other’s business because the thought process is, if one business does well everyone will benefit.

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