What will happen to local businesses? It’s a question I’ve been wondering for the last few months.
Normally for the week of Independence Day, I highlight a now-cancelled event called Independents Week. During the first week of July, the American Independent Business Alliance (www.amiba.net) would encourage everyone to celebrate and shop local small businesses. Now the organization’s mission is small business triage – doing what they can to help small businesses survive.
A late May Federal Reserve survey of businesses reopening in the southeast U.S. showed that although there was a substantial pickup in activity, still, 18% – 35% fewer businesses were open than a year ago. With a new Covid surge occurring in late June, those figures might not get better for a while.
AMIBA studies show the local impact made by keeping dollars in the neighborhood:
*Each dollar spent at local businesses returns on average 3 times more money to the local economy than a dollar spent at big box retailers. (https://www.amiba.net/resources/multiplier-effect/)
*Spending locally keeps taxes lower. (https://www.ilsr.org/wp-content/uploads/files/barnstable-study.pdf)
*Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local charities as big businesses. (see footnote below – Frishkoff & Kostecka)
*In normal times, shopping local creates community. The frequent casual encounters and relationships lead to more civic engagement. (see footnote below -Lyson et. al.)
*Finally – ask yourself. if you have a customer service or product issue, would you rather take it up with a local business, or a customer call center?
While it’s so (too?) easy to click the big box or Amazon app and earn points, rewards, miles, or discounts, consider spending a few extra seconds searching local business websites. As you’re doing so, imagine how your neighborhood might look and feel without that local business. A year ago that might have been unimaginable. This Independents Week, it’s entirely possible.
1) Patricia A. Frishkoff and Alicja M. Kostecka, “Business Contributions to Community Service,” U.S. Small Business Administration, 1991.
2) Thomas A. Lyson, Robert J. Torres, Rick Welsh, Scale of Agricultural Production, Civic Engagement, and Community Welfare, Social Forces, Volume 80, Issue 1, September 2001, Pages 311–327.