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Committee Honors Nation’s Small Business Heroes

Washington, May 8, 2019

Washington, DC—As the country celebrates National Small Business Week, today, House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) convened a hearing to give small business owners located in the congressional districts of committee members, a chance to share their success stories and concerns in Congress.  

“This morning, we heard directly from small businesses that we, as members of this Committee, have been given the privilege of representing in Congress,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “While on the Small Business Committee, we are focused on improving opportunities for Main Street every week, today is a special opportunity to celebrate the national recognition of small businesses— and to hear firsthand what our Committee can do to support new opportunities.” 

Chairwoman Velázquez invited Gia Giasullo, owner of The Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain and located in New York’s 7th congressional district, to share her story with the Committee. 

Brooklyn Farmacy opened its doors in 2010 and serves sundaes, sodas, and ice cream floats. In getting her business off the ground, Giasullo worked closely with her local Small Business Development Center on business planning and recently obtained a Small Business Administration loan so she can continue to grow Brooklyn Farmacy. Giasullo focuses on ways her business can give back to the community by hiring local youth and offering leadership roles to aspiring entrepreneurs. Additionally, Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain was nominated in 2016 as New York’s Small Business Person of the year. 

“Today the Brooklyn Farmacy is one of a handful of full-service soda fountains in America, but we proudly serve the same purpose: as a gathering spot for young and old alike,” said Giasullo. “The soda fountain is everybody’s place. Though we are a tourist attraction, we know our regulars and we are committed to our neighborhood. With weekly events like a tot sing-a-longs, a knitting group, and civics night, we have the opportunity to be a part of our community and in the end, serve them more than something to eat.”

“Throughout our history so much of the American dream has been about starting a small business, creating jobs and building communities around Main Street,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “While today is certainly an opportunity to celebrate and hear the success stories of small businesses, we also acknowledge that starting a business is often not without its own set of challenges. Access to affordable capital, finding and retaining talented workers, accessing new customers, and competing against larger competitors all provide headwinds for small business success. That is why our Committee is focused on addressing these issues head-on by expanding access to capital, workforce development and opportunities to do business with the federal government.”

In addition to Giasullo, ten other small business owners located in committee member’s districts shared their stores with the Committee today. Below is a full list. 

  • Panel One
    • Ms. Gia Giasullo, Owner, Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, Brooklyn, NY
    • Ms. Amy Fox, President & Operations, Spiral Brewery, Hastings, MN
    • Mr. Nels Leader, Vice President, Bread Alone Bakery, Lake Katrine, NY
    • Mr. Robert Hoffman, Broker, Robert Hoffman Realty Inc., Albert Lea, MN
  • Panel Two
  • Mr. Jason Brochu, President and Co-Owner, Pleasant River Lumber, Dover-Foxcroft, ME
  • Mr. Bill Skalish, Owner, Granite Tech, Inc. and The Benchmark GRP, LLC, Landenberg, PA
  • Mr. Jerry Kortesmaki, Owner, London Road Rental Center, Duluth, MN
  • Panel Three
    • Mr. Dave Walton, Farmer, Iowa Soybean Association, Wilton, Iowa
    • Ms. Brittney Reese, Co-Founder and Head FIT Coach, FIT & NU, Aurora, CO
    • Ms. Colleen Cruze Bhatti, Owner, Cruze Farm, Knoxville, TN
    • Mr. Shawn Pulford, CEO, LB Water, Chambersburg, PA

For video of the hearing, click here.

For witness testimony and other information, click here.

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