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Local Business Owner Talks Shop at the White House

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

July 21, 2013

Twelve small business owners from the entire country were invited to the White House for President Obama's Affordable Care Act policy announcement on Thursday. The owner of C'Ville Coffee represented Charlottesville and Virginia.

"When you start this little coffee shop in Charlottesville and then twelve years later to be at the White House because of it, it's pretty incredible," said Toan Nguyen, owner of C'Ville Coffee in McIntire Plaza.

Nguyen was not only invited to the White House but he stood right behind President Obama.

"It was a voicemail. She said, 'Hi this is Karen from the White House. Please call me,'" he said with a laugh, adding that he almost didn't call back because he thought it was a joke.

Joe Szakos from Virginia Organizing submitted Nguyen's name to the White House for a small business that currently embraces the Affordable Care Act.

"I got calls and texts and emails from everyone saying, 'Toan were you on national television with President Obama?' I say, 'Yes!'" he said.

Standing up on that stage in front of a whole room of cameras it put things in perspective.

"It doesn't matter how small your business is or whatever job you do, you're really part of a fabric of the whole nation that you play a really important role in, just doing what you do and doing it well," said Nguyen.

He opened up C'Ville Coffee with his own ideas and passion and through the past twelve years he says he's realized why small businesses are the country's backbone.

"You have people who start their own businesses and grow it and involve the community and giving back. We are part of something bigger," he said.

Nguyen said he was invited to the governor's mansion last month as part of a small business recognition, too, but he didn't think it could get any better than that.


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