Supports Wyoming’s Essential Businesses
The pandemic confirmed the critical role that small businesses play in our daily lives. It sounds cliché, but locally owned small businesses truly are the heart and soul of our cities and towns. The holiday shopping season is a crucial time for small retailers and restaurants that depend upon the boost in sales earned between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Not so long ago, it was an American tradition to shop and explore at the local mega mall or vibrant small business district downtown. Brick-and-mortar businesses would promote their best deals of the year in hopes of luring shoppers to make a purchase, or at least browse their shelves full of merchandise. Today, online shopping has quickly become the preferred way Americans shop for holiday gifts. Recent surveys show that over 80 percent of shoppers make regular online purchases throughout the year. Given the dramatic shifts in the retail environment over the last twenty years, those holiday scenes and traditions are in danger of passing into the realm of nostalgic folklore.
To better compete, small business owners have become very innovative in the way they sell and promote their products and services. An encouraging transformation born out of the pandemic is that many small business owners pivoted operating models to include e-commerce platforms, or changed product offerings, to meet the new demands of the online consumer. Some are even bringing back the retail traditions of the past by providing personalized one-on-one assistance to customers and the selling of locally produced niche items found nowhere else in town. Cottage businesses have started in record numbers as people realized their dream of small business ownership could begin in their basement or garage.
The success of this year’s holiday shopping season will have a huge impact here in Wyoming and across the nation. It starts on Small Business Saturday and ends once the final cork is popped on New Year’s Eve. Wyoming’s 73,330 small businesses continue to generate two of every three net new jobs and deliver essential goods and services in both rural and urban communities. They employ more than 133,159 Wyomingites, give back to their local communities, and just make this state a better place to live in.
Small businesses are the backbone of our democracy, and the solution to our most challenging economic problems. If you’re an entrepreneur and need some advice, please consider exploring the tools and resources of the U.S. Small Business Administration and its partners. SBA resource partners such as the statewide Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network, the Wyoming Women’s Business Center and Big Sky Veterans Business Outreach Center and you can always reach out to our district office 307-261-6500.
In addition to our formal partners, small business owners can get involved with local support organizations such as chambers of commerce, business districts, and neighborhood associations. These organizations are actively involved in coordinating events and promotions to attract foot traffic to their small business members, such as local bazaars and shop small/dine small/entertain small, focused festivals.
This holiday season, please join us in making at least one purchase from a locally owned small business in your city or town. These business owners are the true super stars of our communities, and they deserve our support, thanks, and appreciation. Happy holidays!