There’s been a lot of talk recently about trade and big business, but today I’m challenging all of us to think about trade and small business.

At the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, we work with many local owners and managers of companies who depend on international customers to both sustain and increase sales. Some of those companies employ 15 people or fewer. Some are a little bigger.

These are companies such as Centralite, Gulf Trading, Horizon Shipbuilding, Masland Carpets, Mitternight, The Northern Gulf Group, OPICO, Page & Jones, Prism Systems, Quality Valve and Red Lion (formerly N-tron), to name a few. While you may or may not recognize their names, these companies sell lighting systems, valves, carpet, farm equipment, engineering systems, lumber products, ships and more. And they sell their products throughout the world. Collectively, they employ hundreds of Mobilians.

Plain and simple, we live in a global economy. We have national and state statistics to prove that, and even a few for Mobile County. Trade agreements have boosted Alabama exports a whopping 86 percent, with Mobile County alone accounting for nearly 10 percent. The impact on our community is real.

That’s why the Mobile Area Chamber supports the Trade Promotion Authority, as do many of our members. This program levels the playing field for any local business moving their exports through the Port of Mobile.

When our local businesses succeed and the port thrives, it strengthens the economy. And a strong economy is good for all of us.  

Bill Sisson,
President/CEO, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce