Quint's Column: Thank-you to small businesses

Next week is National Small Business Week. This is a week set aside to celebrate and honor America’s entrepreneurs and small businesses, especially those whose accomplishments stand out from the crowd. 

Small businesses are the engine that powers our nation’s economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are somewhere around 30 million of them. Small businesses create two out of three net new jobs in the private sector — and more than half of all Americans either own or work for one. 

In Pensacola, we are fortunate to have an engaged and active small business community. In fact, they’ve played a pivotal role in driving the revitalization journey our community has been on over the last decade or so. If not for their vision and hard work, we wouldn’t be growing and thriving the way we are now.

I am grateful for and continue to be impressed by our local entrepreneurs and small businesses. First of all, starting a small business and keeping it running is incredibly hard work. These are the men and women who take risks, who solve problems, who work tirelessly to become more innovative and efficient. 

But in Pensacola, that’s only the beginning of what our small business leaders do. They really go above and beyond the normal demands of the workday. 

For example, they take the time to get better. They attend monthly training and development workshops and roundtable discussions centered on the skills it takes to run a successful business. They take part in EntreCon, the annual business conference held in Pensacola each November, so they can learn from the experts and from each other. 

They’ve also reached out to help new entrepreneurs, their partners and colleagues, and even their competitors. Our small business leaders know that a rising tide lifts all boats, which is why they serve as mentors and lead workshops to teach others the skills they’ve mastered.  

They’ve been incredibly philanthropic as well, volunteering for and giving to the nonprofits and charities that make Pensacola a better place for everyone. After all, they live and work here, too. Their children go to school here. They have an active and personal interest in doing all they can to make sure our community is the best it can be.

And so, we need to say a heartfelt thank you to our entrepreneurs and small business leaders. The best way to celebrate and honor them is to do business with them. Shop at a local retail store. Enjoy a meal at one of our wonderful restaurants. Make it a point to visit a small business you’ve never set foot in before. Let them know how much you appreciate them.  

And don’t just do it during National Small Business Week. Do it all year long. As citizens, we have a responsibility to support our local businesses. After all, they’ve made a commitment to us. And when we buy from them, we are making an investment in the community where we live, work, and play. 

 Doing business locally tends to be a great experience. In many cases, you’ll find that small businesses work hard to make sure you get the best possible service and that you are happy with your purchase. They want you to come back!

 Small businesses need us, and we need them. They are the key to creating a vibrant community. They are the backbone of our economy. They provide jobs, they pay taxes, they improve the quality of life. When they win, we all win.

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