Small Businesses: The Backbone of Communities

For the fifth year in a row, the Better Business Bureau is supporting Small Business Saturday on November 29. Small businesses are the cornerstone of any community, creating jobs, spurring local economic growth and giving back to society. The Small Business Administration defines a small business as one that employs fewer than 500 people.
This is especially true in Indianapolis, where small business creation is deeply rooted in the Hoosier independent spirit. According to the 2012 Census Business Pattern surveys, there were nearly 1,000 businesses in the 46219 ZIP code, which includes Warren Township and Irvington — of those, nearly 400 had fewer than 500 employees. In the Garfield Park/Fountain Square ZIP code (46225), there is an even larger proportion of small businesses — out of 418, 368 employed fewer than 500 people. In the Lawrence/Geist ZIP code, there were 720 businesses total, and a whopping 662 of them small businesses.
Owner-operated and non-franchise businesses help build communities in tangible ways. Most of the money spent in local small businesses directly flows back into the local economy. Mom and pop shops also tend to work with local suppliers, making them an important part of the economic food chain. According to the U.S. Census, the annual payroll generated in 2012 in the 46225 ZIP Code was $420,294; in 46219 payroll was $1,138,004 and in 46256, $1,052,718. That’s a lot of money flowing between employers, employees, and the local economy!
Growing in influence in recent years has been the “micro-business” — businesses that start with less than $35,000 in capital and have less than five employees. The Small Business Administration acknowledges that this area of the economy has been growing faster than other types of businesses. Food truck operators, freelancers, consultants, and self-employed artisans are part of this micro-business trend. Many of these micro-businesses get off to a fast start, setting trends in retailing. While not all of them will survive, a significant number of them will grow and thrive with community support.
Small Business Saturdays are being celebrated throughout the country, including right here in Indianapolis. Take a break from the malls and dot-com cybershopping and visit our local businesses for the holiday. In Irvington, the Bonna Shops at 202 S. Audubon will be offering free gift wrapping and more; the Mass Ave. merchants will hold a special event at many locations; in Beech Grove, several businesses along Main St. will hold special events. and there are many independent businesses on East 10th St. that will be participating in Small Business Saturday.