One of the best times to support small businesses is during the holiday season. On the latest episode of the SBA Update, Sherry Hartley, President of Alabama Goods, and Allen Thomas, SBA Regional Administrator, join us. The SBA has helped support Hartley’s business during the pandemic, and now her company will be opening its third location just in time for the holiday shopping season.
Alabama Goods is a locally owned retail establishment focusing on Alabama-made goods situated in Homewood and Huntsville. The proprietors, Sherry Hartley and Beth Staula, take great delight in selecting regionally produced goods from Alabaman artisans, food makers, and craftspeople that can be bought as souvenirs or added to gift baskets. When they opened their second site in Huntsville, the pandemic caused a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. However, thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) granted by the US Small Business Administration, they were able to keep their employees and proceed to open a second store.
1. Small businesses have undoubtedly been the most affected by the pandemic. Still, they continue to develop into the most ambiguous, innovative, and creative companies in terms of evolving their operations to suit what they need for success.
2. In the past two years, the SBA has witnessed the opening of over 14 million new enterprises, with a notable increase in the number of women-owned businesses. Moreover, Thoams believes the number of small businesses has increased in recent years primarily due to the transition of corporations to online shopping.
3. After Hartley’s store closed during the pandemic, they had to adapt and develop innovative ways to deliver fresh products to their customers to meet global demands. For instance, candle vendors started producing hand sanitizers instead of candles, and textile vendors began making face masks for the locals.
4. November 25 was Small Business Saturday. “Small Business Saturday generated 17.9 billion in revenue alone in 2022, and we anticipate a 25% increase for 2023,” Thomas claims. Thomas further mentions that for every $100 spent on local small businesses, $73 is returned to the community.
5. Despite inflation and current interest rates, Hartley isn’t worried about the recent opening of her third store in Hoover, Alabama, because they have advertised and built on that anticipation. She says, “There are things consumers can get from small businesses that larger stores don’t provide.” In addition, “We continuously modify our products in response to customer feedback.
6. Head to your local chamber of commerce online or SBA.Gov/Saturday to learn more about small businesses in your area.
"Support your friends in business, and you'll flourish." – Sherry Hartley