• Eve Mullen

The Small Business Economy

Over the past couple months, small businesses began to trend as the pandemic confined people to their local areas. Panicked by the prospect of losing their favorite neighborhood spots to shutdowns, many people took to social media to revive the only places that were left to spend time. It all felt like fighting a losing battle; even in pre-virus times, starting a business was hard. Especially in cities, storefronts continually shift as things move in and out. However, small businesses are not as small as they seem. They’re an enormous, crucial part of the US economy, and the reason to protect them is much more than out of nostalgia or neighborly spirit. It’s absolutely essential to our survival.

First, what defines a business as “small”? It’s a subjective term, but the US Small Business Administration (SBA) rules that any business with under five hundred employees counts. In reality, most are much smaller. Any individual small business picked out has little impact on our Gross Domestic Product (anything that was manufactured with labor and materials inside the country) or employment rates. In total, though, there are over twenty-seven million small businesses in the country, and they make up about 50% of GDP.

According to the SBA, “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy: they create two-thirds of net new jobs and drive U.S. innovation and competitiveness.” Small businesses employ the masses, and they’ve been key in hiring women and minorities for a long time. A vast majority of people enter the workforce working for a small business, and about 50% of all working adults work for a small business. In innovation, small businesses are where it all begins. Even huge corporations like Apple and Microsoft started as two or three people who saw a gap in available technology. Small businesses drive the search for ways to improve our quality of life and to profit off those improvements. We rely on motivated entrepreneurs with the spirit and drive to advance society. Often, small businesses help large corporations directly; big businesses outsource small firms for supplies, legal counsel, or special projects.

Recently, it’s become clear how much we rely on the markets small businesses create as they’ve struggled to survive amidst the pandemic. In order to help you help our local businesses, here is a list of some places you can find in D.C.:


Food

  1. Timber Pizza (Timber Pizza Co) Vegan Friendly!

  2. CherCher Ethiopian (DC: 1334 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 Bethesda Row: 4921 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814)

  3. Masala Art Indian Food (Masala Art -Masala Art)

  4. El Rey Taqueria (El Rey) A taco place made entirely of recycled shipping containers.

  5. Bullfrog Bagels (Bullfrog Menu) At Eastern Market, H street, Tastemakers Food Hall and a food truck in Tenleytown.


Left: Timber Pizza Co; Right: El Rey


Clothes

  1. District of Clothing (DISTRICT of CLOTHING) is a “lifestyle brand encouraging progression, inspiring action and supporting self-love.”

  2. All Very Goods (All Very Goods) sells bandanas, tote bags and accessories printed lovingly with colorful designs. All bandanas are 100% cotton, and the company uses as little packaging as possible!



Books

  1. Capitol Hill Books (Capitol Hill Books) is a used bookstore that is using the pandemic to mail out curated or surprise “Grab Bags.”

  2. Sankofa Video, Books, and Cafe (Sankofa | Black-owned Bookstore | Washington DC) is a black-owned book and video store that focuses on exploring the past in order to move into the future through literature and film.


Sources:

https://advocacy.sba.gov

https://saylordotorg.github.io

/announcement/microsoft-is-born/

https://cdn.advocacy.sba.gov

https://cdn.advocacy.sba.gov

https://advocacy.sba.gov

https://www.businessinsider.com

https://www.dcshopsmall.com