During a Small Business Saturday Kickoff event, Mayor Brandon Scott encourages shopping local and small. (AP Photo)

By J. K. Schmid
Special to the AFRO

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott encourages city residents to shop local and shop small.

“We know that they’ve been hit tough and hard by the pandemic,” the Mayor said during a Small Business Saturday Kickoff event. “We know that we have to try and find ways to help them more. They remained committed to our city so we have to remain committed to them.”

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain small businesses across the country, though there are signs of recovery.

Intuit Quickbooks studied deposits of one million small businesses from February 2020 to March 2021. The study observed the smallest of small businesses, the typical size had 10 employees or fewer.

Nationally, these small businesses on average lost 22 percent of revenue at the height of the pandemic in April 2020. Maryland small business revenues dropped 21 percent at this time.

Clothing store revenues dropped by 50 percent in April 2020. Women’s clothing retail was hit particularly hard, dropping 56 percent. Intuit calculates this as a $10,000 drop per such a small business.

Revenues are trending up, and recovery appears sustained. Revenues in March 2021 finally exceeded revenue peaks in February 2020.

But customer-facing businesses continue to lag behind other businesses.

“Small businesses need more help,” the study concluded. Help includes expanding access to COVID-19 relief funds and making it easier for these small businesses to go digital.

Online tools allow small businesses with 250 or fewer employees to earn double the revenue per employee, a Deloitte study finds.

In the meantime, Maryland and Baltimore shoppers can do their part.

“Small businesses are not only the engines of our economic progress — they are the heart and soul of our communities,” President Joe Biden said in a September statement announcing Small Business Week.

“Our nation’s small businesses define our communities, drive innovation and create the products and services that enrich our lives and solve global problems to build a better and more sustainable world,” Biden said. “By harnessing the power of our small business economy and equipping our entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to innovate, adapt, and grow, our economy will continue to build back better than ever before. America’s small businesses are up to the task.”