Our Small Businesses

I’ve always thought of Parma as a big city (7th largest in Ohio) with a small town feel. Our neighborhoods have a sense of community. When bad things happen, neighbors step up to help. Covid-19 has confirmed my belief that Parma is a good place to raise a family. On several Facebook pages I’ve noticed so many different individuals doing lots of good deeds. Like donating food, or cheering on those working so hard in the medical community. Many are just small gestures that mean so much to the recipient. Some are large donations of supplies to those that need them. I’ve heard of neighbors donating their stimulus money to food banks too, to help those that need it more now. All in all it warms my heart to see our community come together to help one another.

I’ve always felt that what makes this community so special is the small unique businesses. They are the backbone of our community. When you drive down our main streets, what you see aren’t tons of big box stores, but small family owned restaurants, butchers, bakeries, pet groomers, hair salons, barbers, and deli’s. In cities like ours across the U.S. you don’t find the ethnic shops in the abundance you do here. Predictions indicate that 24% of these small family owned businesses won’t be able to survive. It will be a sad day to see 24% of our store fronts vacant, and devastating to our cities economy. Not to mention the sense of loss we’ll feel, when our favorites are gone.

When the U.S. government started offering loans/grants to small business I was elated. I had hoped that this would surely be a solution for them. Unfortunately, none of the small businesses I spoke to in our area ever received a penny of those funds. Instead, I understand large chains found loop holes to the program and took advantage of the situation. That really makes me mad. The 20 million a certain chain restaurant received could have saved 200 to 300 of our small businesses. You can bet I won’t be giving those chains that took advantage of the situation my business, and I hope you won’t either.

Last month I reported that for every $100 spent at a small business, $68 of it stayed in the community, whereas $100 spent at a big box store, only $43 stayed local. That difference means a lot to our community. As our businesses slowly re-open, I hope that you will remember the importance of our local small businesses, and what they bring to our local economy and the uniqueness of their goods.

By the way, the Parma Observer is a small business also. It is the only local print media dedicated to the Tri-City area. Articles, like mine, are written by volunteer staff, and offer an open forum for individuals to voice their opinions and share news which is pertinent to the community. Support the Parma Observer also.

Please take a stand to support our local small business, we need them.

Kathryn Mabin

Board Secretary of Parma Area Fine Arts Council, Inc, or PAFAC, and Artist/Jewlery Designer, Owner Aire of Oppulence.

Read More on Opinion
Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:52 PM, 05.01.2020