Back to list July 24, 2018 How Small Businesses Impact Their Communities Small and local businesses have more community impact than on their designated once-a-year Small Business Saturday awareness events. The ability to reflect a community’s character and interact with their neighbors on both a business and personal level is something many large corporations are unable to do. Celebrating a small business is more than just complimenting its quirk or hipster audience — it’s recognizing and cherishing the positive impact it holds around your community and local government, plus all of the independent and unique products or services not found with big businesses. In Cumberland County, small businesses have increasingly become a wonderful addition to small towns and neighborhoods. Because of its convenient location between cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, Harrisburg and New York, more and more economic opportunities are arising to meet consumer demands. The economic benefits of small businesses are numerous and portray how even the smallest shop can have the largest impact. Local Jobs With the increase in local small businesses comes an increase in the number of available local jobs. Local jobs are ideal because they reduce the amount of traveling and commuting employees need to do to get to work. By opening local jobs, your area’s unemployment rate can start to see a decrease, producing great numbers for your economy. In addition to adding local jobs within the small businesses, you can also produce an increase in job opportunities at other nearby small businesses. When you have an active community with small businesses placed throughout, townspeople are more likely to shop around from one business to the next, as opposed to only going to one department store for everything they need. The more attention small businesses receive, the more labor they need to stay productive. Increase Tax Base With the revenue that small businesses generate, this tax money gets fed into the local economy to create a better business within your community. This means your school districts, police forces and other small businesses and organizations will create a support system and reap the benefits of each others’ hard work. Less Infrastructure and Low Maintenance Small businesses don’t require as much work and maintenance as your standard large corporation. Because they are often placed in the middle of a city or downtown area, these small businesses can be added to already existing buildings. This positively affects the economy because there is less city planning that needs to be done. There is also less labor and work involved than mapping out and building a new mall or department store. Product Diversity The role of a small business is to be innovative, new and diverse. To stand out from the larger companies, small businesses need inventory and products that are fresh, new and different. An independent retailer will generally provide unique products that are unable to be found at larger retailers. With small businesses, there is the ability for cooperation with other local businesses. Many products can be made because of the goods and services of other local outfits, allowing the profits to return to the local economy. Technology can also help small businesses thrive, especially regarding online shopping. Providing multiple shipping options can enable community members to be flexible with their shopping, viewing all of the different and innovative products available in a local setting. Local Decision-Making and Involvement Incorporating small businesses into local government decisions can help ensure the small town culture within the community. By actively producing wealth in the economy, small business owners should be invited to participate in governing meetings and decision-making processes. In addition to the political sphere, small businesses often get involved with the community at large. It’s not uncommon to see a block of local businesses holding a weekend event or fundraiser, donating portions of their sales to local charities or organizations. Small businesses will also participate and volunteer their time at fairs and festivals, working to connect with members of the community while sharing their services to a large audience. Some schools and sports teams even reach out to local businesses for sponsorships of tournaments and events. Community Identity Forming and shaping the identity of a community might be one of the biggest roles of small businesses. Their participation in the community can help reflect an important history that is crucial to the town. Being a substantial presence within the local community can shape the character of the people as well, directly influencing tourism in the area as well as connecting with everyday individuals passing through. Not only are local businesses important for creating a culture for the community, but they also build connections and relationships with the people. Owners welcome friendly unfamiliar faces regularly but are always pleased and delighted when they see familiar and returning customers. There’s a small-town feeling that arises when anyone walks into a local business — the staff is polite, the owner is present and friendly and customers always feel welcome. When you get to know small businesses, you’ll find a variety of nice gestures and wonderful surprises — the baker slips you an extra croissant, the florist remembers all of your Homecoming corsages and the art gallery reserves a special place for an upcoming exhibition to display your personal work. Small businesses impact their communities in a variety of ways, from interpersonal relationships to local government to the economy. In Cumberland County, small businesses know how to thrive. Cumberland Valley is very welcoming of local businesses who participate in the community, view a sample of success stories here. You can also view a list of unique small retailers in the area here. With 33 townships and boroughs in the area, there is sure to be a fit for you and your small business plan. The unemployment rate in the county is lower than it is statewide, thanks to the dedication and support of small businesses. If you’re looking to move into Cumberland County, reach out to CAEDC to understand your options for financing and development help. We work directly with your business to understand your project, identify funding sources, analyze options, develop your project and communicate with local government stakeholders.