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Small Business Saturday reinforces ties between members & community - Home Furnishings Association

Small Business Saturday reinforces ties between members & community - Home Furnishings Association


Small Business Saturday reinforces ties between members & community - Home Furnishings Association

Posted: 19 Nov 2020 06:32 AM PST

Long after Thanksgiving spills into Black Friday, when hordes of people begin their holiday shopping rites, HFA member Cheri Hochstetler will keep the doors closed at Dwell, the eclectic furniture store she and her husband own with friends in Coralville, Iowa. 

"We're going to have a quiet Thanksgiving that includes giving our staff some time at home with family," said Hochstetler. "We've had a really great year and our staff needs a break." 

Saturday, however, is all hands on deck for Hochstetler and her staff in hopes that they'll be rewarded for their community ties on Small Business Saturday, the annual retail celebration that turns 10 on Nov. 28. 

Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 by American Express as a way of honoring local businesses across the nation. Taken as a whole, those businesses are anything but small. The Small Business Administration estimates there are 30.7 million small businesses  in the U.S. (companies with fewer than 500 employees). And while the pandemic has shut down thousands of them this year, they still account for 99.9 percent of all U.S. businesses. 

But those businesses face serious competition from the other 0.1 percent. Big-box and online stores like Wayfair, Amazon, Target, Walmart and others are now the main competition for furniture retailers. Hochstetler knows this, which is why she values the close relationship she has with Coralville and her customers. That's why her business gives so freely to Habitat for Humanity and Friends of the Animal Center, a local animal shelter. 

"For 23 years we've always been here for our community and they've always been there for us," said Hochstetler. "I don't see that changing now." 

She said she supports her community because it's the right thing to do. In the same breath, however, she acknowledges those eleemosynary acts do not go unnoticed in Coralville, a small suburb of Iowa City. "Families and millennials, that's a big thing for them to see a business that supports where they live. They want to return the favor, I suppose." 

'Heartbeat of our industry'

HFA CEO Mark Schumacher doesn't like the phrase small business because, he said, "it sometimes connotes a lesser type of business." 

"Our industry was founded by smaller, family businesses, many of which grew into the giants of today," he said. "To me, single-store retailers are the heartbeat of our industry, connected to their communities in unique, meaningful ways. They are part of the fabric of their city or town, and they serve the needs of their communities because they know their customers well."

HFA member Shayne Marsh with Affordable Furniture in Bakersfield, Calif., said the demand for furniture since his state reopened from the mandated shutdowns has made 2020 one of his best sales years in memory. He hopes the final weeks will keep that momentum going. It starts with Small Business Saturday. 

"It's not easy going up against some of the big-box stores, but we try to give customers the service and attention they won't get at those places," said Marsh. "We want everyone who comes in to feel special because of the way we treat them." 

[After a rough 2019 and 2020, Riley's Furniture is ready to celebrate the future]

Schumacher said that extra attention to customers is what separates smaller furniture stores from their bigger competition – not just on Small Business Saturday but year-round. "Businesses of all sizes can learn from smaller home furnishing retailers what relationship-building and customer engagement really look like," he said. 

Governor Ivey Announces $200 Million Small Business Grant Program “Revive Plus” - Dothan Eagle

Posted: 19 Nov 2020 04:00 AM PST

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced Revive Plus, a $200 million grant program to support small businesses, non-profits and faith-based organizations in Alabama that have been impacted by COVID-19. Revive Plus is the second wave of funding for these organizations with 50 or fewer employees and will award grants of up to $20,000 for expenses they have incurred due to operational interruptions caused by the pandemic and related business closures.

"As the state has rolled out over $1 billion of the CARES Act monies to the individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19, it became evident the group most overwhelmingly hurt during the pandemic were the small 'mom and pop' shops," Governor Ivey said. "A second round of assistance through Revive Plus will ensure that the small business owners who have borne the brunt of the downed economy can be made as whole as possible. As we head into the holiday season, my hope is that this will be welcome news for our businesses and help ease their burdens from what has been a very hard year."

Entities may receive up to $20,000 to reimburse qualifying expenses if they have not received federal assistance for the corresponding item they are claiming with the state of Alabama. The Revive Plus grant is in addition to any state of Alabama Coronavirus Relief Fund grant previously received, including the Revive Alabama Small Business, Non-Profit, Faith-Based, and Health Care Provider grants. There is no set cap on the number of entities that may be awarded a Revive Plus Grant. Grants will be awarded to qualifying applicants on a first-come-first-served basis until the funds are exhausted.

"The Revive Plus program is much needed in our small business economy," Senate General Fund Chairman Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) said. "I commend Governor Ivey for taking this action, recapturing unspent dollars and using a proven program to bring economic relief to our small business owners." 

Alabama received approximately $1.9 billion of CARES Act funding to respond to and mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. Alabama Act 2020-199 initially designated up to $300 million of the Coronavirus Relief Fund for individuals, businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. After the initial $100 million for small business that was reimbursed starting in July 2020, legislative leadership approved a second round of $200 million from allocations made to reimburse state government and from other grant programs that have ended with the full allocation unspent.

"This second round of funding for Alabama entities will provide much needed resources for our state's economy," Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) said. "I appreciate the governor and the Finance Department's work to ensure we utilize these funds to the benefit of our citizens." 

Entities may access grant information and the grant application through the Coronavirus Relief Fund website. The application period for the Revive Plus Grant Program will open at noon, November 23, 2020 and run through noon, December 4, 2020.

"This is welcome news for small businesses, non-profits and faith-based organizations that are continuing to feel the adverse effects of the Covid-19 virus," House General Fund Chairman Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) said. "Time is of the essence and I urge all qualified entities to apply as soon as possible beginning Monday, November 23rd."

A coalition of the Business Council of Alabama, the National Federation of Independent Business of Alabama (NFIB Alabama), and the Alabama Restaurant Association worked closely with the Governor's Office to revisit the grant program after the initial round of Revive Alabama reached the $100 million cap.

"Businesses throughout the state are working diligently to keep their employees and customers safe, all while ensuring commerce throughout Alabama continues to move, Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Britt said. "Revive Plus will be essential in giving Alabama businesses access to the necessary and needed funding to keep their doors open and keep hard working Alabamians employed. Our broad coalition of businesses, associations and chambers commend Governor Ivey and her administration for putting these critical funds into the hands of businesses who need it most."

Qualifying entities must have been in business March 1, 2020, are currently in business and have a valid W-9 to apply for a Revive Plus Grant.

Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce Small Business Stroll supports county shops, eateries - NNY360

Posted: 19 Nov 2020 04:00 AM PST

OSWEGO — The Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce is launching the Small Business Stroll, presented by Novelis, Nov. 29 to Dec. 6.

The week-long program is designed to increase foot traffic to local Oswego County businesses and restaurants during the holiday season. Participating businesses will provide specials and deals throughout the week. The GOFCC encourages community members to shop, eat and save locally this holiday season.

"COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our local small businesses. These businesses are the lifeblood of our community and add the unique character and charm that make Oswego County a great place to live, work and play," said Katie Toomey, executive director of GOFCC. "The owners of these shops and eateries are our friends and neighbors and need our support now more than ever. I encourage the community to not only shop safely this season, but to make sure the dollars they spend stay right here in our community to fuel its resurgence and growth."

The GOFCC and Novelis have partnered with several large employers to incentivize their employees to shop local throughout the week, and encourages other businesses to think how they can drive a similar impact as well.

"As the leading producer of flat-rolled aluminum products and the world's largest recycler of aluminum, Novelis employs over 15,000 people across 33 operating locations in nine countries on four continents. While our global footprint allows us to serve our customers around the world, we are fiercely committed to investing in and supporting the communities in which we live and work," says Jeff Cruse, plant manager at Novelis, Oswego. "Central New York, and especially Oswego County, is an extension of ourselves. Our success is intrinsically coupled to the success of our valued community. We proudly invest in programs like the Small Business Stroll that support our community and the businesses within it because we believe that shopping local not only fuels economic development but strengthens the character, infrastructure and prosperity of our community."

The GOFCC Small Business Stroll, presented by Novelis, is also made possible by sponsorships from Eastern Shore Associates, SUNY Oswego, Minority Leader William Barclay, Eagle Beverage, StepOne Creative, iHeartOswego, The Palladium Times and Valley News and Mitchell's Speedway Press.

How to participate in the small business stroll:

See the participating small businesses at www.oswegofultonchamber.com. Participants can also see which of their favorite shops are involved via print media, on social using #StrollOswegoCounty as well as on-air TV and radio placements.

Throughout the week, small businesses will offer incentives to their shops and eateries.

Participating businesses will have signage in their windows indicating their participation with a QR code linked to the Small Business Stroll page.

All NYS regulations (face coverings, social distancing) for visiting local establishments will be encouraged while people shop, eat and save. For more information or to participate in the Small Business Stroll email Sara Broadwell at SBroadwell@OswegoFultonChamber.com.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

GOFCC Small Business Stroll supports Oswego County shops and eateries - NNY360

Posted: 19 Nov 2020 04:00 AM PST

OSWEGO — The Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce is launching the Small Business Stroll, presented by Novelis, Nov. 29 to Dec. 6.

The week-long program is designed to increase foot traffic to local Oswego County businesses and restaurants during the holiday season. Participating businesses will provide specials and deals throughout the week. The GOFCC encourages community members to shop, eat and save locally this holiday season.

"COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our local small businesses. These businesses are the lifeblood of our community and add the unique character and charm that make Oswego County a great place to live, work and play," said Katie Toomey, executive director of GOFCC. "The owners of these shops and eateries are our friends and neighbors and need our support now more than ever. I encourage the community to not only shop safely this season, but to make sure the dollars they spend stay right here in our community to fuel its resurgence and growth."

The GOFCC and Novelis have partnered with several large employers to incentivize their employees to shop local throughout the week, and encourages other businesses to think how they can drive a similar impact as well.

"As the leading producer of flat-rolled aluminum products and the world's largest recycler of aluminum, Novelis employs over 15,000 people across 33 operating locations in nine countries on four continents. While our global footprint allows us to serve our customers around the world, we are fiercely committed to investing in and supporting the communities in which we live and work," says Jeff Cruse, plant manager at Novelis, Oswego. "Central New York, and especially Oswego County, is an extension of ourselves. Our success is intrinsically coupled to the success of our valued community. We proudly invest in programs like the Small Business Stroll that support our community and the businesses within it because we believe that shopping local not only fuels economic development but strengthens the character, infrastructure and prosperity of our community."

The GOFCC Small Business Stroll, presented by Novelis, is also made possible by sponsorships from Eastern Shore Associates, SUNY Oswego, Minority Leader William Barclay, Eagle Beverage, StepOne Creative, iHeartOswego, The Palladium Times and Valley News and Mitchell's Speedway Press.

How to participate in the small business stroll:

See the participating small businesses at www.oswegofultonchamber.com. Participants can also see which of their favorite shops are involved via print media, on social using #StrollOswegoCounty as well as on-air TV and radio placements.

Throughout the week, small businesses will offer incentives to their shops and eateries.

Participating businesses will have signage in their windows indicating their participation with a QR code linked to the Small Business Stroll page.

All NYS regulations (face coverings, social distancing) for visiting local establishments will be encouraged while people shop, eat and save. For more information or to participate in the Small Business Stroll email Sara Broadwell at SBroadwell@OswegoFultonChamber.com.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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