President Obama's efforts to help American manufacturing grow took center stage Jan. 25 with U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills' tour of Always Bagels in Lebanon, PA.

Mills, recently elevated to the President's Cabinet, highlighted the SBA-backed expansion of Always Bagels into its 71,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility and addition of nearly 100 jobs as an example of SBA programs and services helping small businesses grow and create jobs. 

Entrepreneurial ingenuity was evident at every turn during the tour, as Mills and Always Bagels Plant Manager Jamie Pariti toured his family's state-of-the-art facility. The production floor's system of automated machinery hummed as conveyor belts carried thousands of bagels through various stages of the Pariti's unique bagel-making process.

Always Bagels gives customers the taste of a bagel made the old-fashioned way at a price made possible by modern automation.  Over more than 30 years in this business, the Pariti family designed its own machinery and processes to preserve every step of its old-world bagel recipe without sacrificing production efficiency.

Always Bagels' growth is part of a nationwide trend, according to Mills. "In the last 22 months, American businesses like Always Bagels have created more than 3 million jobs," Mills said, "and job figures show that America's manufacturers are no exception – that sector added more jobs in 2011 than it has added since 2005."

For its part, SBA provides vital financing programs to help insure that America's entrepreneurs like the Pariti family who own Always Bagels, have the access to capital that they need to start and grow their businesses. Last year SBA financing programs infused $30.5 billion into the economy, funding over 60,000 small businesses.

Always Bagels' new Lebanon plant, funded by SBA's 504 program through Seedcopa Community Economic Development Corporation, produces about 400,000 bagels daily for sale nationwide and internationally.

Always Bagels, Inc. was founded as a retail bakery in Port Jefferson, New York in 1985. Today the company includes a 22,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art baking facility in New York as well as the new Lebanon, PA, plant.