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BEACON PHOTOS/AL EVERSON

SMALL TOWN MEANS BIG BUSINESS — Most of DeBary’s merchants, like those shown above, give their city and its business climate high marks in a survey conducted by the West Volusia Regional Chamber of Commerce. More than 90 percent of the businesses surveyed were small businesses, many of them located along U.S. Highway 17-92, which is DeBary’s main street. Merchants and service providers said they especially appreciate the loyalty of their customers, most of whom live in DeBary.

A survey conducted by the West Volusia Regional Chamber of Commerce finds DeBary is a very business-friendly city.

“Eighty-seven percent of the businesses surveyed rated DeBary as an excellent or good place for business,” Shari Simmans, the executive director of the Chamber, said, summing up the results of her group’s research and contacts with merchants and privately owned service providers. “Eighty-six percent indicated they are looking to expand.”

The outreach was termed BRE, meaning “business retention and expansion.”

Simmans noted the Chamber, meaning herself and volunteers, “reached out to 60 businesses and received 50 responses.” The volunteers themselves were business professionals, she said, who visited the responding business owners for “peer-to-peer dialogue.”

The firms contacted were mostly — 96 percent — small businesses. For purposes of the survey, a small business is one with 25 or fewer employees.

The two most common types of small businesses in the polling are the “S-corp” and LLCs.

An S corporation refers to a portion of the federal Internal Revenue Code, as simplified by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“An S corporation is the most common corporate structure for small businesses. An S corporation is any business that files taxes under Subchapter S of Chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code. S corporations can be particularly beneficial to small businesses due primarily to the tax benefits and legal protection afforded to its shareholders,” the definition reads.

An LLC is a limited-liability company, meaning the owner/owners may not be held personally responsible for the firm’s debts.

In any event, Simmans said, most of the businesses’ owners are quite satisfied with the commercial climate of the River City.

As for the strengths of DeBary, Simmans said, “The community is the biggest. Our businesses are reaping the benefits of people being loyal to them.”

What about weaknesses?

“The biggest challenge was the sign ordinance, and it’s about them being unable to put signs up where they want.”

DeBary’s sign ordinance restricts standing and pole signs, for example. Many business signs are on the buildings, or they are monument signs.

— Al Everson