A leader in helping foster U.S. entrepreneurship and global business growth is encouraging consumers to shop local this Christmas, as small businesses have made the necessary adjustments to help customers feel safe while they reinvest in their communities
Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), recognizes that the economy has a place for all businesses, as different businesses fill different customer needs. "But in this very tough economy," she adds, "local businesses may not be around another month or two or three if they don't have revenues coming in through the door."
"There have been studies that found that for every $100 spent local, $68 stays local," Kerrigan relays. "That means that money is reinvested back into the community."
She tells One News Now that America is a nation of small towns.
"The Census Bureau produced a report called 'America: A Nation of Small Towns,' where they show that about 76% of the 19,500 incorporated places have fewer than 5,000 people," Kerrigan reports. "42,000 of them have fewer than 500 people. So we are a nation of small towns, and local economies really do depend on their small businesses not only for goods and services, but for jobs, revenue, for supporting schools, and services."
Because of the ongoing pandemic, some people and politicians do not feel it is safe to shop in smaller settings. That is one of the reasons why large big-box stores were allowed to operate this year while their smaller competitors were not considered essential. But Kerrigan asserts that it is, in fact, "very safe" to shop small, because business owners know they have to make their stores, shops and restaurants safe "in order to survive the pandemic."
"The small business is probably one of the safest places that they can go," she continues. "So … for the most part, they know that these businesses depend on that foot traffic. And in order to sort of build that trust with consumers, you've got to have a safe place to shop."
As for those who opt to save gas and time by not traveling over the hills and through the woods to grandmother's favorite stores, Kerrigan points out that many small businesses do have an online presence.
"Most have had to pivot to adopt more technology and use more technology in their business to have the sort of touchless or soft-touch economy that we are currently in," explains Kerrigan.
With more consumers shopping online this year and spending a lot more time on social media, Kerrigan's organization is advising small businesses to meet people where they are, "and that may be in social commerce or on social websites."