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Pest-control owner named Small Business Person of the Year

April 30, 2018

SMALL BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR

The owner of a pest control company in Schaumburg, Illinois, is the national Small Business Person of the Year for 2018. The award to Rebecca Fyffe, owner of Landmark Pest Management, was announced Monday by Small Business Administration head Linda McMahon.

Fyffe, who is also director of research for the company, took it over in 2001, and has increased its staff from 18 to 70 since then. Besides serving residential and business customers, it has developed new methods of pest control. McMahon described Fyffe as having used science and technology to innovate in her field.

The company is expanding this year to Michigan, Indiana and Missouri.

The Small Business Person of the Year is chosen from winners in all the states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Criteria used to select winners include a company’s history showing growth, increased hiring, sales and profits, innovation in its product or service, its ability to deal with problems and crises and its contribution to community-oriented projects.

BRUSHING OFF CONCERNS

Rising interest rates and prices for oil, gas and other commodities are a growing concern for small business owners even as they feel more confident about the economy. That’s the finding of a Bank of America survey of owners released last week.

Just over half of the more than 1,300 owners surveyed in February and March called rising rates a concern, up from 37 percent in a survey taken nearly a year earlier. The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate three times since last year’s survey was completed in April, and said last month it expects two more rate increases this year and three in 2019.

Half the owners called rising commodities prices a concern, up from 36 percent. Energy costs affect most if not all small businesses. The price of gasoline averaged $2.56 a gallon nationally in mid-February and $2.80 last week; it’s up from $2.34 a year earlier.

But 56 percent of the owners surveyed expect their local economies to improve over the next 12 months, up from 48 percent in a survey six months earlier. And 54 percent expect a stronger national economy, up from 46 percent.

Owners’ increasingly upbeat view of the economy is in line with other recent surveys. The strengthening economy and expectations of lower corporate taxes are two of the factors behind their rising optimism. Their outlook for their companies is also brighter — 60 percent in the Bank of America survey predict their revenue will rise in the next 12 months. That’s up from 48 percent in the survey a year ago.

SMALL BUSINESS WEEK SEMINARS

National Small Business Week events being held this week include a series of online seminars, part of a virtual conference sponsored by the Small Business Administration and SCORE, which offers free counseling for small companies. Topics include social media and other marketing strategies, and workplace issues including sexual harassment and managing finances. The seminars will be held Tuesday through Thursday. You can learn more and register at www.score.org/live-webinars .

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Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com/search/joyce%20rosenberg

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