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      Building relationships with CNY small businesses and local entrepreneurs

      It's all about building relationships among small businesses in our area, and showing off tools available to help budding entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground.

      Organizers of the 15th Annual Small Business Show SOHO Syracuse say as big business leaves, we need to make sure we're helping family-owned businesses.

      They are the backbone of our community.

      "It's all those little places you go, the dry cleaner, the drug stores, all of those places are essentially small businesses," says Event Chairman Steve Becker. "Lawyers, they're small business. Without that every day type of business in your neighborhood, I think it would be more of a challenge."

      Cooperative Federal, a credit union serving neighbors in Syracuse since 1982, was one of the 130 businesses to have a booth at the OnCenter.

      "Part of our mission is to provide services to those who may not traditionally be served by banks. I think in a lot of cases, that's small business," says Rachel Greene, an Execu ti ve Assistant with the company. "I think anytime you have a group of people together sharing ideas, sharing information, it's beneficial."

      Speach Family Candy Shoppe is also excited for the exposure.

      "Doing events like this is really great because you ' re getting in front of a bunch of people that might not even know you exist," says Michael Speach. The Lodi Street business has been in his family for 93 years.

      "We do a lot of candy that we make ourselves, but we also have the nostalgic product. We also do candy buffets for events and weddings... People don't even realize were able to do all of those little things," says Speach.

      Their most popular treat continues to be the Chocolate Covered Potato Chip. Terrell specifically designs a potato chip especially for the Candy Shoppe. The family continues to use New York Maple Syrup to create one of their newest delicacies, the Maple Pecan Bacon Brittle, -- or MPB Two as it's known in the Shoppe.

      "It's something different," Speach says. "That salty and sweet together, it's actually a huge seller."

      Though Speach Family Candy Shoppe has been in business for 93 years, other people are just getting started. Becker, who also serves as President of Premier Promotions, says with the economic downturn, more people are looking to create their own business, rather than look for a new job.

      Those are the people he hopes this event will help.

      "It could be a pizza shop, it could be an IT Office, and such, but that's why we're here," he says. "We feel we need to help small businesses and show them what the different options are and such."