Triad Women Turn Unemployment Into Pickles Business

7:17 PM, Jan 20, 2011   |    comments
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  • Miss Jenny's Pickles
  • Miss Jenny's Pickles
    

Winston-Salem, NC -- On Wednesday American Express announced they would be closing their Greensboro call center that employed more 1,900 people.

The number of big companies like American Express, with more than 100 employees, has been decreasing since 2000 in Guilford County.

There were 292 big companies headquartered or started in North Carolina in 2000, according to Youreconomy.org, a non-profit website that collects economic data.

By 2008, there were 258, which was a loss of 34 companies.

But, when it comes to small companies with under 100 employees, the numbers are growing.

In 2000 there were 16,387 small businesses. In 2008, that number ballooned to 26,386, according to the website.

Jenny Fulton and Ashlee Furr know the role small businesses play in reviving the economy.

"It's a process of emotions," said Fulton. "You get mad, you cry, you get happy and you say I'm going to be OK."

Fulton was rocked to her knees when she was laid off from her job as a financial advisor.

"I was very scared and didn't really know where to turn," said Furr.

Furr, who was Fulton's assistant, was also laid off from the same company.

"I knew that I had a strong bond with Jenny and we knew that we were going to do something," explained Furr.

That something, as hard as this is to believe, was pickles.

"Pickling is a dying art," said Fulton. "But, you know what, we've brought it back to life."

Miss Jenny's Pickles was born. They rent the kitchen of a YMCA in Winston-Salem and can have seven to fourteen people working for them at a time.

"We're in 80 stores in two years," said Fulton. "Basically we're going to be a household name."

"There are some folks who believe that they can provide similar service to what they may have done in their corporate jobs," said Kathy Elliott, who is the Vice President of Entrepaneurship for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.

Elliott said the number of small businesses in the Greensboro area has more than doubled in the last ten years. It's these small businesses that are growing jobs.

"They're creating the jobs and their filling that void that has been made from some of the job losses that our area has experienced," said Elliott.

For Fulton and Furr, they learned they couldn't do it alone.

"Find your passion," said Fulton. "Research what you're doing because you're going to need help."

There are resources in Greensboro you can turn to for help. The Small Business Consortium is about 20 agencies ready to help you get your company up and running.

The Chamber of Commerce encourages you to give them a call at 336-387-8300 for help connecting to these agencies.

You can buy Miss Jenny's Pickles in Greensboro at the New York Butcher Shoppe, the Friendly Center Harris Teeter and the Harris Teeter on Pisgah Church Road.

WFMY News 2

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