Indiana Small Business Continue to Struggle During Pandemic, Need Support
Small Business Saturday falls on November 28 this year, during one of the most difficult years ever for many locally owned businesses across Indiana. That’s especially true for restaurants and retail shops. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is encouraging people to support small businesses in a variety of ways on Small Business Saturday and beyond.
“While it’s important to support small business owners every day of the year and every Small Business Saturday, this it a critical time for Indiana small business owners,” said Barbara Quandt, NFIB State Director in Indiana. “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many small business owners to shut their doors, and others are barely hanging on. A recent NFIB survey found that the retail and services industries have been the hardest hit by COVID-19. That is why it’s a critical time to shop small this weekend. Your support can help mom and pop shops across Indiana keep their doors open. Every little bit helps.”
Miller’s small business, The Locker Room, has been in Danville since 1979.
In Danville, Joan Miller is busy making high school sports apparel. While her business slowed down this spring, Miller says business has picked back up now that the kids are playing sports again. Miller feels fortunate to be making it through this pandemic and says it’s because of the relationships she’s cultivated with her customers. While she has a brick and mortar store on Main St. in Danville, The Locker Room specializes in custom orders for local school districts. It has been in Danville since 1979, and for decades Miller has worked with her clientele one-on-one, making sure the final product is exactly what they envisioned.
“Sure, you can buy just about anything on Amazon these days, but you’re not going to get that personal touch. When I talk to my customers, I make sure I understand their vision. I love working with people to create something that they are proud to wear on game day,” says Miller.
An example of some of the sports gear Miller makes for her community.
Even more important to Miller is giving back to her community. She sponsors a little league team in Danville and supports local 4H and FFA programs. For Miller, it’s all about relationships. She supports her community and they give back to her by ordering their uniforms from The Locker Room. So instead of ordering your next holiday gift on Amazon, Miller encourages Hoosiers to go out and shop small and buy that gift from an Indiana small business owner.
NFIB has conducted a series of surveys on the impact COVID-19 has had on small businesses. The latest survey highlighted that 75% of small businesses would apply or consider applying for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program funding, showing that small businesses are still balancing the everyday needs of their business and the COVID-19 pandemic.
If people prefer not to go out shopping this season, many small businesses offer their products online as well as home delivery or curbside pickup. A small business owner is much more likely to be available by phone if customers have questions. Showing support for local businesses on Small Business Saturday and throughout 2021 will help business owners get past the recent economic downturn. That will help keep communities vibrant.
Small Business Saturday has been held the weekend after Thanksgiving since it was created eleven years ago by American Express following the 2009 recession. The idea was if consumers could be encouraged to “shop small” and support local businesses it would lead back to a healthy economy. The event has gained in popularity and last year, sales on Small Business Saturday reached a record $9.6 billion, according to the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey conducted by American Express and NFIB. Research commissioned by American Express shows that each dollar spent creates another 50 cents of local business activity as a result of employee spending and a business purchasing local goods.