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The Small Business Buzz

Small business is a term we hear a lot, but what is a small business and what does that really mean?

This week is Small Business Week and we’ll look at what makes a small business, how they help the economy and how you can support them.

Small Business Week recognizes how small-business owners make a big impact in their communities through innovation, development and service. They are vital to America’s workforce.

By definition, a small business has 500 employees or less. In the U.S., they comprise 99.9 percent of all businesses, according to the Small Business Association.

$68 out of every $100 spent at a small business gets reinvested into the local economy.

Small-business owners tend to care more about how they impact their local community than a corporation. They live there and they are invested, as opposed to a chain store where the owner lives in another state or another country, with little vested interest in the surrounding area beyond how it ranks for its own market research.

In times of economic upheaval, community loyalty to a small business can help them weather the storm until they stabilize again. At Sweetwater, we saw this happen during Covid. People turned to online ordering, stocked their friends and neighbors up with coffee, which not only helped our staff and all the Florida communities we serve, but also the farmers who rely on us to help roast and distribute their green coffee. Our root systems are deep and wide. We have deep roots.

According to a national study of 3060 counties, communities with higher numbers of small, locally owned businesses have “healthier populations — with lower rates of mortality, obesity and diabetes — than do those that rely on large companies with ‘absentee’ owners.”

Small Business Week happens to include World Fair Trade Day!

Small businesses that produce or carry consumable products made from natural resources can achieve recognition for their best practices including B Corp, Organic certification, and Fair Trade certification.

So how do fair trade practices benefit small businesses? We can look at all the ways it influences the coffee industry. Coffee is not just the farmers and the baristas. Coffee is a billion-dollar industry with many sub-sects in which people can get hired in their community. Most coffee enterprises are small businesses.

Small businesses in coffee include coffee farms, local roasteries, mom-and-pop coffee shops, mobile cafes, coffee-delivery services, coffee-consulting services, and coffee-training centers.

When you buy fair trade coffee you are helping small-scale farmers and their cooperatives maintain autonomy and ability to negotiate better prices and form long-term relationships with buyers who are more aligned with their values. 

When you have the choice to support a small local business over a big-name corporation, choose local, because you’re choosing community. And when you can support a certified fair trade product, do it, because a community of hard-working people somewhere is better for it.

You can celebrate Small Business Week by post your fave small businesses on social media using the hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek.