Small businesses want to add jobs in rough economy

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Andrea Parks was searching for work when she began baking for friends.

"I was on unemployment, so I was trying to get something to keep me busy," Parks said.

That baking led Parks to give up being an employee and start her own business. Frost Cupcake Factory is now two months old.

On a good day -- and most are -- she sells 400 to 500 cupcakes. At that rate, she's defying the odds of the high mortality rate of small business start-ups. Parks expects to be profitable in her business in a few more months.

But the real success story here is how many jobs she's created. Three full-time and five part-time employees keep the shop open seven days a week.

A folder filled with job applications keeps growing.

"There's so many people coming in here and so many ages," said Parks. "Every type of person comes in here for a job, and being somebody that was in that place, I wish I could help everybody."

Parks says she wished the jobs she created would help the jobless rate fall. What she didn't know going in was how many hours she would work -- Parks hasn't had a day off in the 60 days since opening.

Employees at Frost Cupcake Factory prefer to work at a small business because they're empowered to deal with customers directly and to solve problems.

"When you're working for a small business, it's a lot different," said employee Justin Beers. "You've got to handle the situation more professionally, more quickly. You can't just kinda beat around the bush on some issues. You have to assess the problem and make everything better."

Customers say they feel a special bond with a small business, knowing that jobs and economic vitality of the community are at stake.

"I'm very passionate about people who start businesses like this because I know it's hard work, and I know all that has to go into it," said resident Carol Shebanek. "It's really important to support them so they survive."

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