Mom-and-pop shops hope for boost during Small Business Week

BIG RAPIDS — Small business owners in Mecosta County are hoping National Small Business Week, celebrated May 20 to 26, will bring local business to their stores.

Small businesses are in need to support now more than ever, said Band of Locals founder Carlleen Rose.

“We put our hearts and souls into our businesses,” Rose said. “This is about reminding people that if you want a vibrant community, you need to support the businesses within it. Every one of us can name a favorite business that we’ve lost, and we could kick ourselves in the fanny for not supporting it.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive between March 27 and April 2, 2012, found that while small business confidence grew in the first quarter of 2012, small businesses continue to lose employees. Thirty percent of small businesses reported laying off employees in the last year.

The poll of 1,339 small business executives found that eight out of 10 of small business owners cite higher energy prices as an immediate threat to the success of their business. Concern about gas prices has more than doubled in the last three months, increasing from 10 percent to 24 percent.

Rose expects gas prices to be a major factor in tourism this year, which could impact small businesses in Mecosta County.

During Small Business Week, Rose’s Old Pioneer Store and Emporium will offer specials to customers and Band of Locals members.

“We’re hoping that the rest of our small businesses will do the same,” she said. “We’re going to be celebrating our Band of Locals and encouraging people to buy the blue bands. Take the time to get on the website and look at all the fabulous deals the blue bands have.”

For more information on Band of Locals, visit bandoflocals.com.