Mayor Fischer encourages Louisvillians to Shop Small this Saturday to support local businesses
Mayor Greg Fischer proclaimed Nov. 28 Small Business Saturday in Louisville and asked residents to support locally owned businesses throughout the holiday season.
“Our small businesses are struggling right now. Just as we have come together to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we must do the same to support our small locally owned businesses,” Mayor Fischer said. “I want to thank longstanding organizations like the Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA), which has been championing small businesses for 15 years, and new groups like Buy Black Lou that are shining a greater light on our local Black-owned businesses. Every one of them needs our dollars and support.”
Small businesses play a critical role in our local economy, offering unique goods and services that people can only find here. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the bottom lines of these diverse enterprises. Overall revenue among small businesses in Louisville has declined 25.8 percent compared to January 2020, according to Opportunity Insights, a non-partisan research and policy institute based at Harvard University. Nationally, small business revenue has declined by 23.2 percent.
“Additional assistance is needed from the federal government to help support small businesses,” the Mayor added. “Please get in touch with your federal representatives to let them know you want action on federal relief. People are being put out of work by COVID-19. This is a time when we have to rely on each other, and the federal government has a role in helping to support businesses, families, frontline government workers and others harmed by this pandemic.”
On Small Business Saturday, LIBA is hosting Shop West Louisville and South Louisville Stroll to highlight businesses and vendors in those areas. Both events will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28, and people can enter to win door prizes and giveaways as well as take advantage of specials.
The participating businesses are spread out, and some stops will feature vendors in outdoor tents to help ensure that people can socially distance while supporting local businesses. Everyone is asked to follow CDC and state COVID-19 guidelines. For more information about these events, visit www.keeplouisvilleweird.com/SmallBizSaturday.
LIBA also is launching on a brand-new e-commerce site, www.ShopLocalLou.com, on Cyber Monday, Nov. 30, that will allow people to purchase goods from multiple local businesses all in one transaction. All the participating stores will offer pickup, and some will also offer delivery. The goal is to continue to add new local businesses to the site, which will continue operating after the holidays.
“Your purchases this holiday season are truly an investment in the future of our community. Studies have shown that when you spend money at locally owned independent businesses, a greater share of your dollars stays right here in Louisville,” said LIBA director Jennifer Rubenstein. “This year, it is particularly important to keep money flowing through our local economy as our small businesses are particularly vulnerable to the economic impacts of the pandemic. That is why we are making it even easier for Louisvillians to remain safe and support local businesses through the launch of ShopLocalLou.com next week.”
Those looking for minority-owned businesses to support are encouraged to visit www.Buyblacklou.com or follow Buy Black Lou on Facebook, where the organization will be highlighting goods and specials offered by minority vendors. You can also search the hashtags #BOBFridayLou and #BOBChristmasLou on Facebook to see some of the products and deals from black business owners.
“Entrepreneurship is the engine of our economy. When we support local, black and small businesses, we are supporting the growth of our communities and our neighbors. This year, it is particularly important that we be intentional about where and how we circulate our dollars to make sure our communities are benefiting,” said Tanika Bryant, founder of Buy Black Lou and the Black Business Association.
To help our small businesses, Louisville Forward, the city’s economic and community development arm, launched two new programs this year – the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program and the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Loan Program.
Through the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, 824 small businesses have received grant dollars totaling $27.1 million to help mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program closed after all funds were awarded on Nov. 12.
To date, 42 small businesses have been approved for loans, totaling $1.7 million, through the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Loan Program. The application window for the program closed on Nov. 20 because of the overwhelming response.