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Upton Joins in Small Business Crawl in Kalamazoo

Tour Showcased Downtown Companies Growing Their Businesses by Using the Internet

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KALAMAZOO, Mich., Jul 21 | Lynn Turner / Nick Culp (269-385-0039 / 202-225-3761) | comments
“You don’t have to look any further than small businesses in Kalamazoo to see firsthand how the Internet is opening up new possibilities for entrepreneurs and consumers alike.” - Rep. Fred Upton
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​ Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, along with representatives from Google, Facebook, and other members of The Internet Association, on Monday toured four companies using the Internet to spread the word about their businesses and increase sales. 

“The Internet is empowering innovation, investment and job creation along Main Street USA in cities and towns across the country,” said Upton, who is also chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “You don’t have to look any further than small businesses in Kalamazoo to see firsthand how the Internet is opening up new possibilities for entrepreneurs and consumers alike.” 

Job creation and economic growth in Southwest Michigan are among Upton’s top priorities.  

During stops at The Organic Gypsy food truck, 200 S. Rose St.; Amy Zane: Store & Studio, 132 S. Kalamazoo Mall; The Station, 169 Portage St.; and Bell’s Brewery, 355 E. Michigan Ave., owners gave an overview of their business, how they started, and harnessing the power of social media helped them reach a larger customer base than they could have through traditional means.

“I don’t use any print ads or marketing. And because I change menus depending on what I can get from farmers, I update menus, times, and locations every day. The Internet lets me do that easily,” said Bridgett Blough, owner and chef of The Organic Gypsy food truck. 

“Companies that use the Internet as an innovative tool grow 40 percent faster and are twice as likely to create jobs,” said Michael Beckerman, president and chief executive officer of The Internet Association, who led the tour. “Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, accounting for half of all goods and services sold nationwide and two-thirds of all jobs created.” 

Local business officials toured the firms along with Upton and Beckerman. In addition, representatives from members of The Internet Association, including AOL, Groupon, and Yelp, were also on hand. 
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