Spread holiday cheer by supporting small businesses
More than 69 percent of small business owners view the winter holiday season as their top sales opportunity. As the federal government’s voice for small business, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes how important it is to support our community entrepreneurs who have taken steps to accommodate customers during these difficult times. Shopping small and dining local has a huge impact on the 31.7 million small businesses in the United States where half of all U.S. workers are employed. Here in Pennsylvania, one million small businesses employ 2.5 million people.
The winter holiday season is a chance for shoppers to make a tremendous impact in their communities by supporting locally owned small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy, and add vibrance and strength to their neighborhoods. In fact, many locally owned retailers earn upwards of 50 percent of their annual revenue during this period. As precautions have been taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many restaurants, retailers, and service businesses are concerned that benchmark will be hard to achieve this year. These small businesses, located in rural, suburban, and city neighborhoods, need our support now more than ever as they navigate, retool, and pivot to operate despite the pandemic.
The holidays might look a little different this year; however, we can still share joy by shopping small and supporting our favorite small businesses and their employees all season long. While limited store capacity and social distancing might prevent us from going in crowds to visit our local small retailers and restaurants, there are still ways we can #ShopSmall and #DineLocal throughout the entire holiday season. Consumers can order online or over the phone, use curbside pickup, purchase gift cards, allow extra time for in-person shopping, and even set up one-on-one personal shopping appointments. Restaurants, wineries, and distilleries are promoting takeout/delivery services, catering, and tasting menus, as well as offering outdoor dining experiences on sidewalks, closed streets, and in parking lots. To continue the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses, and to continue rebuilding our economy, remember to support small retail, restaurant, and service businesses throughout the holiday season.
Steve Dixel is eastern Pennsylvania district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration.