Legislative Update from State Senator Joey Hensley: Shop Small and Local This Holiday Season

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   Never has it been more important to support our local businesses by shopping local and shopping small. During the Coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn, our local small businesses have been hit harder than their corporate counterparts. The struggle endured by many small business’s effects not only the business owners but the local economy and workforce as well. Whether it’s retail or restaurants, small businesses depend on our communities and our communities depend on them.

   Small businesses are responsible for generating and providing a significant portion of jobs across the state. In Tennessee, businesses with less than 100 employees provide jobs for 53.3 percent of the private sector workforce, and another 23.5 percent of private sector employees work for small businesses which employ fewer than 20 employees.

   Tennessee takes pride in our reputation as a business-friendly state that encourages entrepreneurialism and small business success. In order to continue this trend, we as Tennesseans must support local businesses and show our appreciation for the value they add to our communities. 

   Recently we celebrated the 10th annual Small Business Saturday on November 28. This was a great way for consumers to shop small and shop local. But our small businesses operate for more than just one day. We must continue this support throughout the holiday season and into the new year. 

   During the height of the pandemic shut-down (April-May) online sales were higher than during the 2019 holiday season, according to a study by Adobe. This increase in online sales left countless small businesses without online capabilities in the dust. But now, months in to the pandemic, many small businesses have innovated their business model and are fulfilling orders with curbside pick-up. If you’re not comfortable shopping in person, check to see if your local small businesses are fulfilling online or to go orders, and if you do plan on shopping in person, wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands to protect yourself and others.

   In addition to shopping small, there are other ways to support small businesses. If you had a great experience at a small business, write a review online, tell a friend, or post about the business on social media. By taking these actions, you can help raise awareness and credibility for deserving local businesses. 

   Nearly seven in 10 small businesses see the winter holiday season as the highest sales opportunity for their business according to a study done by Visa. Let’s patron these small businesses this holiday, as they have been a big asset to our communities. Join me in shopping small and shopping local.