Small businesses need big shop-local effort to survive

Small-business advocates always urge consumers to shop local, but it’s been particularly important during the pandemic and even more so as they work toward post-Ida recovery, says Dawn Starns McVea, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. 

“We’ve had this big, concerted effort to get people back into shops,” she says. “We just need to do that on steroids.” 

McVea expects to see “co-marketing efforts” among multiple businesses. She also thinks some of the moves companies made in response to the pandemic, such as beefing up their online presence, also will be helpful when facing the latest crisis. 

“I think so many of them have learned survival techniques that have gotten them this far, and I think they’ll be applying a lot of those to get through this as well,” she says. 

McVea is concerned that some business owners who were faced with difficult pandemic-driven financial decisions may have let their insurance lapse, making the road to storm recovery more difficult. And businesses that already were facing staffing issues now have employees who can’t even get to work. 

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, there are still a lot of unknowns, such as when the fuel supply will return to normal in places like Baton Rouge that didn’t see major storm damage. NFIB plans to survey its members in the coming weeks to get a sense of what they need most, she says.