The definition of small, local, independently-owned businesses tends to change over time. But for those of us at Potlukk, why we do this remains the same.
Small, local businesses are usually started by a member of a community. These businesses are typically reflective of the unique region and its culture.
When it comes to community, it's not to say larger companies don't care about the community but...small business owners are typically more invested. They're networked, they're active, they want to support each other. That's not always the case for larger businesses who may need to focus more on their bottom line than supporting local competitors.
From our experiences working in different communities across the country, small businesses tend to create very cooperative environments.
Small business owners are people who want more say in how their own life workd and as an extension, they want to influence and build up their surroundings.
Partly because if your community can support small businesses, it's more robust and enables people to find the life they want and participate rather than living in a place where only large businesses can survive and compete.
Just a quick overview of some of the reasons, data-wise, we love to support small, local businesses:
- Small businesses create about 2 out of every 3 new jobs in the US every year, according to the SBA).
- (And they also produce 16.5x more patents per employee than large patenting firms)
- Although immigrants make up 13% of our total population in the US, they make up 18% of business owners overall and 28% of “main street” businesses (retail, accommodation and food services, and neighborhood services) according to the American Immigration Council.
- Small businesses generate revenue, especially in the form of taxes, for local communities - they can also improve roperty values, which improves every homeowner's bottom line. Local businesses naturally keep the tax dollars local.
- Naturally, they generate less revenue than the bigger companies - but that also means small businesses can weather recessions and depressions better as they have less to lose in times of economic crisis.
- Surprisingly, small businesses also help environmentally - according to the EPA, "businesses that locate in smart growth places can help protect environmental resources—for example, by reducing air pollution from vehicles by encouraging walking, bicycling, or taking transit; building more compactly to protect ecologically sensitive land; or incorporating natural ways of collecting and filtering stormwater runoff.”