3 ways small businesses make a big impact

During National Small Business Week, NRF honors their unique contributions

For more than 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration has celebrated National Small Business Week, showcasing the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. NRF is proud to celebrate small retailers this National Small Business Week, April 30 – May 6, 2023.

We asked five small retailers what they want the public to know about small businesses.

Small businesses drive the economy

Small retailers have a vital role in the communities they serve, driving economic activity and powering jobs. In fact, the overwhelming majority of retailers are small businesses, with more than 98 percent of all retail companies employing fewer than 50 people.

“Most businesses start small as startups that drive economic growth in communities,” says Patti Riordan, owner of the Smoke Stack Hobby Shop in Lancaster, Ohio. Riordan and her husband Don took over the store 10 years ago and have since grown the business and created more jobs. “When we took over, my husband and one part-time worker opened the doors. Now, 10 years later, we employ five full-timers and three part-timers along with some intermittent workers.”

Small businesses are community-focused

Small Businesses

Read the latest news and browse resources for small retailers.

Marc Sherman, owner of general store Stowe Mercantile in Stowe, Vt., is passionate about giving back to his local community. “We support our community through donations of cash and products whenever we’re asked and help organize community events throughout the year that bring vibrancy to our village,” he says. Sherman also provides local students with job opportunities, which are often their first opportunity to gain foundational job skills.

Connecting with the community is Tara Riceberg’s favorite part of being a retailer. Riceberg took over her Beverly Hills, Calif.-based gift shop, Tesoro, from her parents. “I’m a second-generation retailer so I’ve inherited my late mother’s customers,” she says. “Nothing makes me happier than a story about a platter they still use that was purchased from my mom 30 years ago.”

Small businesses love their customers 

“I love that I can connect with people on a personal level,” says Margaret Barrow, owner of snack company It’s NOLA. She says the company recently went the extra mile to ensure a customer received its signature Sassy Mango Masala granola in time to include in her son’s wedding favor bags. “As a small business, we can take the time to personalize each purchase because of our size, but more importantly, because our relationships are meaningful to us, and we hope others feel the same about us,” Barrow says.

Amber Gustafson, owner of Amber’s Designs, a custom jeweler in Katy, Texas, finds joy in updating her customers’ heirloom jewelry and converting them into pieces that can be enjoyed for years to come. “I love that I can create something special for clients with jewelry they have inherited or that is worn out,” she says.

Join NRF in celebrating National Small Business Week and learn more about NRF’s resources for small businesses.

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