Fraley: Small Business Saturday a big deal
The number of small businesses is growing in Berea, and officials are urging residents to help keep that trend going by shopping locally this Saturday and throughout the holiday season.
In a report to the Berea City Council Tuesday, Business and Tourism Development Director Donna Angel noted that since the pandemic, Berea has seen an upward trend in the number of independently-owned business start-ups.
According to Angel, 47 new businesses opened in 2020, with six closing their doors. The following year, 50 new businesses opened, with two closures. In 2022, 55 new businesses began, with two closing, and in 2023 so far, there are 58 new businesses, with perhaps four more opening before year’s end. New businesses can include brick-and-mortar stores, such as Just Love Coffee, Bert’s Speak Cheezy, Bluegrass Kitchen, and Giovanni’s Pizza of Berea, and they can also represent retail outlets, medical professionals, or individuals who offer other services.
“It’s quite remarkable,” Angel said. “Maybe it’s not quite where we want to be some day, but I think we’re in pretty darn good shape, and I would not have wanted to grow us any faster than we have.”
On a related note, Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley and the Berea City Council presented a proclamation for Small Business Saturday 2023 to Alex Sipple of Get Outside KY, who received the document on behalf of all small businesses in Berea.
Sipple opened an Estill Street business that rents outdoor gear such as kayaks, canoes, E-bikes, and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs), allowing visitors and residents to enjoy outdoor attractions around the surrounding community, such as Owsley Fork Reservoir or the city’s growing network of shared use trails.
Sipple expressed appreciation to the city for its efforts in boosting small businesses, including Berea Tourism’s ongoing promotion of local commerce on social media.
“Local community members and city council, thank you for everything you do, and we appreciate the initiatives that are put into place to support not only big businesses but small businesses and the community in general,” Sipple said. “We’re here to collaborate, and obviously the city and tourism are more than willing to lend a hand.”
During the Mayoral Comments segment of Tuesday’s meeting, Fraley said he wanted to draw the public’s attention to a flyer compiled by Berea Tourism that features 25 items that can be purchased in Berea for under $25. The ad is also in this week’s Berea Citizen on Page 9.
Fraley again urged citizens to buy locally on Small Business Saturday this weekend, during the holidays, and throughout the year.
“To a nationwide big box, your purchase doesn’t mean a lot. But to a small business in your community, it means everything. So, if you’re buying Christmas gifts, please take time to buy something in the City of Berea,” Fraley said.
Concerning new businesses, Angel reported the state government will be providing funds in February to help prospective entrepreneurs. Angel said the objective is to enable owners of small businesses to cultivate the skills required, such as budgeting and marketing, to be able to sustain their commercial ventures during the critical start-up phase and beyond.
Councilmember Katie Startzman and Mayor Fraley expressed appreciation for the work Angel and her staff do to promote commerce and tourism in Berea.
“Thank you to Donna for your detailed report, and all the plates that you and your staff keep spinning for all of our benefit. I think things are really feeling like we have a lot of good momentum in Berea and it’s really good to have that affirmed by your positive report,” Startzman said.
The entirety of Mayor Fraley’s proclamation reads as follows:
“Small Business Saturday 2023
Whereas, the government of Berea, Kentucky, celebrates our local small businesses and the contributions they make to our local economy and community, and;
Whereas, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 33.2 million small businesses in the United States. Small businesses represent 99.7 of firms with paid employees. Small businesses are responsible for 62.7 percent of net new jobs created since 1995, and small businesses employ 46.4 percent of the employees in the private sector of the United States, and;
Whereas, 68 cents of every dollar spent at a small business in the United States stays in the local community and every dollar spent in small businesses creates an additional 48 cents in local business activity as a result of employees and local businesses purchasing goods and services, and;
Whereas, 72 percent of consumers reported that Small Business Saturday 2022 made them want to shop and dine in small, independently-owned retailers and restaurants all year long, and;
Whereas, Berea, Kentucky, supports our local businesses that create jobs, boost our local economy, and preserve our communities, and;
Whereas, advocacy groups as well as public and private organizations across the country have endorsed the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday;
Now, Therefore, I, Bruce Fraley, Mayor of the City of Berea, do hereby proclaim November 25, 2023 as Small Business Saturday and urge the residents of our community and communities across the country, to support small businesses and merchants on Small Business Saturday and Shop Small Saturday throughout the year.”
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