It’s February, and this month is all about celebrating the love that you have in your life. At the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, we’d like to encourage you to show your love for our small businesses. While many businesses have received financial relief, the pandemic continues to disrupt the pace of business. Our small businesses need us, and there are many easy gestures that can add up when helping local salons, restaurants and boutiques.

There’s nothing small about the impact small businesses have on our economy. Everyday, across the country, small businesses apply their extraordinary potential to drive innovation and competition and generate revenue to build communities and a better quality of life for everyone. Outside of a global pandemic, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs for the U.S. economy. To me, it’s simple: small businesses are essential to Cobb’s and the nation’s economic health and success.

How You Can Support Small Businesses

-Find a local supplier for the goods you typically buy online. Local bookstores, pharmacies and clothing boutiques are likely to have the best-seller, pair of shoes or cleaning product that’s set to re-order in your Amazon shopping cart. Mask up and shop at the source or shop their e-commerce offerings.

-Order curbside. Sometimes you just need at-home delivery. But, when possible, order curbside pickup at your favorite restaurant or store. Online delivery services and apps charge small businesses a fee to be a part of their platforms. When profit margins are already thin, these fees chip away at a small business’ revenue potential. Many of Cobb’s small businesses have become adept at offering curbside pickup, making it easy, safe and convenient.

-Engage with them on social media. Follow your favorite small businesses on social media and share their posts. When you engage with businesses on social media, you are helping to amplify their content so that it reaches more news feeds and increases the number of potential customers to see their content. Also, leave a review online – positive reviews help other customers find that business quickly and builds a positive reputation and trust.

-Support black-owned businesses. Black-owned businesses have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic and they need our help. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently reported that 41 percent of active Black-owned businesses declined between February and April 2020. By comparison, during that same time frame, the bureau reported that small businesses as a whole declined by 21 percent.

If you are looking for black-owned businesses to support in our community, here are a few. In December, the Cobb Chamber partnered with Comcast Business for their Together Towards Tomorrow initiative. Through Comcast Business’ Together Towards Tomorrow initiative, four Cobb County-based companies that were heavily impacted by the pandemic have been selected to each receive a $5,000 grant. The four grant recipients were black-owned small businesses throughout the four districts of Cobb:

• Johnson Baugh Learning Centers (aka Kiddie Kollege) provides a safe, challenging, and loving environment for its students who range in age from six weeks to 12 years. Kiddiecollegemarietta.com

• Paradise Healthcare, Inc. is one of Atlanta’s leading home care providers of high-tech nursing services. Paradisehealthcare.net

• Lights Over Atlanta is an outdoor lighting installation company serving commercial and residential customers. Lightsoveratlanta.com

• ChyChy’s Healthcare & Medical Supply, LLC provides personal care support, skilled nursing, and community-based services across metro Atlanta. Chychyhealthcare.com

-Encourage your favorite small businesses to apply for the Cobb Chamber’s Small Business of the Year awards. Each year, the Cobb Chamber honors Cobb’s best small businesses through this competitive awards program. Interested businesses can fill out a thorough application form, sharing how they innovate within their business, overcome challenges and support the Cobb community. The Cobb Chamber markets the Top 25 Small Businesses of the Year through its networking events, social media accounts and its website – it’s a major marketing boost for a small business. Applications are open now at cobbchamber.org/sboy.

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