With so many small towns and cities across the country losing small local businesses to big-box stores like Walmart and Costco, it’s easy to get the impression that small business is becoming less important to local communities. Online giants like Amazon and eBay are just as intimidating to small local e-retailers, but are they really killing small business?
Times are tough, there’s no doubt, but small business isn’t just a big part of our economy – it’s making a comeback!
According to the Small Business Administration, “While corporate America has been ‘downsizing’, the rate of small business ‘start-ups’ has grown, and the rate for small business failures has declined.”.
Here are some other interesting facts about small businesses you may not know:
- The number of small businesses in the United States has increased by 49% since 1982.
- Since 1990, as big business eliminated 4 million jobs, small businesses added 8 million new jobs.
- The 23 million small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales.
- Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s.
- The 600,000 plus franchised small businesses in the U.S. account for 40% of all retail sales and provide jobs for some 8 million people.
- The small business sector in America occupies 30-50% of all commercial space, an estimated 20-34 billion square feet.
When you shop at locally owned businesses, you do more than just get the product or service you were looking for – you help your entire community! Here are a few of the benefits:
- Help create more good jobs. Small local businesses are the largest employer in the United States, and provide the most jobs in our communities. Big box stores, on the other hand, have a tendency to reduce local wages and hours available to work.
- Local business owners and employees are members of your community, and are more likely to be personally and financially involved in community improvement programs.
- Small businesses use comparatively less resources and have less waste than big businesses, making more efficient use of taxes for local public services.
- Small businesses keep our communities unique. How boring would life be if every town and city were the same? Local businesses reflect our local communities in the food they serve, the products they sell and the services they provide.
Sometimes shopping local takes some effort on our part to make a conscious decision to do so. Deciding to eat dinner at a local restaurant instead of going to a chain restaurant, or having a local craftsman make your furniture instead of a mass-furniture manufacturer can have a big impact.
Shopping local is, thankfully, getting easier as more as more small and home-based businesses add an online component to their business. Shopping local online allows you to purchase the same high-quality local products and services from your office or living room and many home-based businesses that many of us never knew about now sell their wares online.
Whether you walk down the street or browse there, shopping local makes a difference. By supporting our local businesses we strengthen our entire communities.