October has always been a favorite month of mine. Personally, October means cooler temperatures, my twin daughters’ birthday, and the memory of my husband’s and mine first full month of business 27 years ago. Celebrating my business journey means reflecting on the start of Schlabach Security and Sound Inc. I know now the beginning of my business journey was just the first milestone in the fulfillment of my American dream.

As anyone in the business community may know, starting a business is no simple task. We must evaluate our entrepreneurial abilities, craft a business plan, prepare our marketing strategies, and analyze our finances and resources. Looking back on all the business climates we had to weather, I am thankful for the success we obtained throughout the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the tragic fallout from Sept. 11, 2001, and the current crisis under COVID-19. A large element that allowed us to secure our business is our clients. With each unfortunate situation, we always knew that we had a product and service that was needed by our community. The support from Citrus County as a small and upcoming business was something I had never anticipated. Moving up to the county in 1995 was the key proponent in the success of Schlabach Security & Sound Inc. Building a business is a wonderful, rewarding experience, but this is oftentimes paired with long hours and sleepless nights. If it had not been for the community that we decided to build our company in and the loyal clients who supported us from the beginning, we would be nowhere near where we are today.

The progression from where we started and where we are now brings us to the business climate of today. As opposed to what once was a traditional and direct company to client approach, we now find ourselves surrounded by demand for virtual innovation and adaptation to the technological trends. Many of us did not foresee a global epidemic that would impact the operations of companies all around the world. We are in uncharted territory in this way, and that only amplifies the necessity to adapt. If it were not for our relationships with our industry’s leading core groups, the Citrus County Building Alliance and the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, we would have felt much more overwhelmed in March of 2020.

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Small businesses play a key role in building a strong country because of the opportunities we can provide for communities. Our local businesses are our neighbors, serving the citizens and the visitors every day. According to U.S. Small Business Administration, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. We create nearly two out of every three new jobs in the United States each year. Because of this, we must plan for the unexpected and be prepared for any obstacles that come our way, not only for our own family, but for the families that we employ and provide for.

As a newly elected local official, I understand the value that small businesses bring to our community. I understand the impact that our companies have on the economy and the opportunities that become available for community members. My experience as a businesswoman and my support for other local businesses enable me to become the champion for the business community here in Citrus County. In addition, I want to further the outreach to other businesses and residents by investigating, reporting on, and settling complaints, an exact definition of what an ombudsman is. I understand the struggles of being a business owner and a resident in a small town. I want to advocate for programs, services and resources that can be used to get our local business’ momentum moving forward with the ultimate goal of people achieving their dreams. My attitude over the next four years will be, how can I help you? I want everyone to know that they are appreciated not just in the month of October but all year round. Thank you, Citrus County businesses and consumers. I appreciate you, support you and value your commitment to strengthening our community!

Ruthie Davis Schlabach is a local business owner, longtime Citrus County Chamber member and commissioner-elect for County Commission District 3.

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