It’s the holiday season, for many this means purchasing gifts for loved ones. Normally the thinking goes something like this “What would mom like?” I’m begging you to add a question to the start of your gift giving process this year to save small business in our community. This year, start your thinking with “What small business do I want to see existing in a year? What would mom like from that company?” Every dollar you spend between now and the end of the year is literally deciding the fate of what options you will have in the future. So if you can afford gifts this year, don’t spend at Target, Menards, Costco, Amazon, etc. Those types of stores have a lot more support to weather what is going on. Instead, spend every dollar you can at the small locally owned places. If there is a business you want around but aren’t sure what mom would like from there, CALL THEM! I promise all businesses will help you spend your dollars at their company.

Why? Because small business is dying in our community. Every day another wonderful boutique business that made our community interesting closes its doors. Over the weekend Mom and Pop Place in Neenah announced their permanent closure at the end of the year. 🙁 Last week New York Deli had a post up stating they needed customers to come back or they wouldn’t be able to stay open; customers came and they had to take down the post because some customers were unkind that they had to wait. (I am not going to go on a tangent about how ridiculous it is to be a jerk right now to a company that is literally begging you to come to stay in business….hopefully you are not a jerk and understand this.) But here’s the deal, New York Deli made the post alerting people of the severity of the situation. Pretty much EVERY small business is holding on by a thread and could make that post every day.

Let me break down the dollars in a way to help you understand the reality with easy math. A company makes $10,000 per month. They rent a space for $3,000 per month and they pay 5% per month ($500) in insurance and taxes and these costs don’t change no matter what, so they have $3,500 in fixed expenses monthly and $6,500 to pay for the rest of the bills (which sounds like a lot but that covers payroll, health insurance, facility maintenance, credit card processing fees, utilities, etc). The company was able to save 5% every month and have been doing so for the two years it has been a business so they have $12,000 in savings. Now they lose all income for March, April and May because they are “non-essential”. With zero coming in they use their savings to pay their fixed expenses so $3,500 x 3 = $10,500 to survive the “safer at home” because fixed expenses don’t change. Whew. They made it through the closure thanks to their savings! The company reopens! But with the 25% capacity restrictions the now only bring in $7,500 per month. They also now have to spend an extra $1,000 per month on cleaning supplies and extra HVAC running costs. So their $7,500 – $3,500 fixed – $1,000 covid extras means they are paying all their other costs on $3,000 compared to $6,500. So first they stop saving because they can’t afford that $500 per month. Most of their costs they can’t change a ton without hurting their employees so where does that $3,500 monthly deficit come from for the months of June, July, August, September, October? That’s another $17,500 that has evaporated for this company. Many couldn’t figure out how to operate under these conditions so they are closing their doors. Others took out loans which puts them in a dangerous situation in the future. And this is a LUCKY company that is still taking in 75% of their usual income; when speaking to business owners in Appleton the reality is that income the past few months is actually 30-60% of the usual. Think what that does to the numbers above!

Small business doesn’t have a huge saftey net of a franchise. Small business has not gotten help from the government. The state of Wisconsin did a grant for $2,500, note the above rent was more than this grant so how much help was that? Small businesses care about their employees so they are doing everything they can to keep the number of hours, hourly rates, and health insurance available but they simply won’t be able to for long unless the 75% of income goes back up to 100% soon. This is the reality. The math makes it extremely challenging to keep small business doors open without YOUR dollars coming back in and quickly.

Do you want to live in a world with only Applebees, Olivia Garden and Culvers as your dinner options? Do you want to only be able to shop at Costco, Menards and Amazon? Do you want to only work out at Planet Fitness or via YouTube? I say NO strongly to all these things. Which is why every dollar I am able to spend in the next two months simply HAS to go to a small business. And let me clarify for a second and say that your friend selling some MLA online isn’t a small business; a small business is a brick and mortar business that has real fixed expenses they cannot change with employees they take care of and equipment they had to purchase to be able to do their business (like a contractor). Yes, I want the MLAs to live too, but loosing small business at the level we are on pace to will completely change the fabric of our society. Your dollars now will shape what type of community we have in spring. So what do you value? What kind of community do you want to live in? Show us with your dollars. Start all your purchases with the questions “what small business do I want to exist in a year?”

Purchase a gift certificate for someone from your list for Aerial Dance! We will be very grateful for every dollar that helps us stay in this community and we will make sure your family/friend has a great time while staying safe. Not sure how our options match your person list, call, we’ll be happy to help! Also, this blog gives lots of ways you can spend your dollars at Aerial Dance to show what you value.