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Four ways to uplift small businesses this holiday season

(StatePoint) With nearly half of all Americans employed by a small business, these establishments need our support more than ever this holiday season and going into 2021.

According to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, 46 percent of business owners surveyed have seen a drop in revenue over the past 12 months, with some entrepreneurs seeing even more severe impact.

“Small businesses are at the heart of our communities and the key to millions of jobs,” says Steve Troutner, head of Small Business, Wells Fargo. “Keeping holiday spending dollars in local communities is an impactful way to rally around small business owners.”

Wells Fargo is sharing four ways to brighten the season for small businesses:

  1. Shop local. While one-stop holiday shopping on leading e-commerce sites can be tempting, the simple act of purchasing something from your favorite local retailer can go a long way in keeping business afloat and money in your community. Returning or exchanging gifts? Ask for store credit instead of cash. It helps keep money with a small business and makes their cash flow more stable.

Many shops have safety measures in place, such as limiting occupancy or offering contactless pick-up. This year, some cities are even hosting virtual holiday markets, a great way to support local artisans, farmers and more while shopping for loved ones. Check your local chamber of commerce or neighborhood association for details.

  1. Eat local. Support your neighbors by dining at locally-owned establishments. Getting takeout or having food delivered? Order directly from the restaurant rather than through third-party sites that take a cut. When it comes to food shopping, opt for neighborhood grocers, which often carry produce from small family-owned farms and other locally-sourced goods. Many offer the same curbside pickup and delivery options as major chains.
  2. Uplift diverse-owned businesses. Keep in mind that minority- and women-owned businesses have been hard hit by COVID-19. Many are counting on your patronage right now to help them survive the holiday season and into the new year.

To help entrepreneurs stay open and support local jobs, Wells Fargo is deploying approximately $50 million from its Open for Business Fund to Community Development Financial Institutions across 32 states. The initiative focuses on increasing access to training and flexible capital that businesses can use for rent, utilities, payroll and other business needs. If you are a business owner looking for assistance and resources, visit wellsfargo.com/shoplocal to learn more.

  1. Shine a light on your favorite business. Whether it’s expanding outdoor patios and installing heat lamps or updating tech to facilitate contactless checkout, small businesses have had to get creative to stay relevant. One simple way of supporting businesses as they make these changes is to follow them on social media and give positive reviews on websites like Yelp.

As part of its “Many hearts. One community” campaign, Wells Fargo is highlighting the determination, resilience and creativity that so many small business have shown in 2020.

“Community has meant everything to me,” says Kadijatu Ahene, owner of Dija’s Touch Designs, which benefitted from Wells Fargo and Local Initiatives Support Corporation working together. “The challenges we’re dealing with have brought us closer. Whether its friends and neighbors checking on me and my girls, delivering food and more, COVID has reminded us that we need each other to move forward in unity.”