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This economic recovery has a bit of an edge to it.

The fear that once hung over us — people and businesses alike — has abated, for the most part. There are many promising signs that things are better and getting more so.

But some things seem to have changed forever after the economic meltdown of 2008.

There is greater care with money and more caution when it comes to growth, among other things.

For this edition of Business World we sent a survey to local small businesses about lessons they learned, how they fared during the worst of times and what they see for the future.

For the most part, they are an optimistic bunch.

Yes, many are more cautious and conservative. But most see brighter days ahead and are poised to take advantage.

That speaks well for our entire region. Small business is the single largest driver of the economy, locally, statewide and nationally. It provides the most jobs and pays the most taxes.

If small business owners are looking forward with great hopes, we can follow suit.

In addition to the survey results, we also talked with many small business owners. Each has their own individual story to tell, from great struggles to recovery to nonstop success and growth during the worst of times.

Frankly, I’m hoping we can turn a corner soon and stop making the Great Recession a focal point when talking about the economy.

We must learn from the past, but we need to let go of the fear. Our country has seen many ups and downs but persevered.

For now, we’ll continue to reflect on our latest down but charge ahead in anticipation of more ups.

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