Small businesses account for millions of jobs in America.  The Small Business Administration says there were 5.73 million employer firms in the U.S. in 2012. Businesses with fewer that 20 employees made up 89.6 percent. The SBA says when you add in the number of non-employer businesses there were 23 million in 2013 and the share of U.S. businesses with less than 20 workers increased to 97.9 percent. Those are staggering numbers.

For all of the malls and the large box stores struggling to keep up with internet sales in 2016 there are many more "mom and pop" businesses fighting to hang on as well.  Who remembers the glory days when New Bedford's Acushnet Avenue was lined with locally owned stores like "Harry The Hatter," and "Champagne Shoes," and "The Music Box," to name a few?  Locally owned restaurants, butcher shops and clothing stores were downtown and filled South End shopping districts.

There are indications that a renaissance may be dawning for local business. As more and more national chains are fighting to keep pace with computer sales and younger consumers and empty nesters flock back to urban centers in search of a new lifestyle, creative entrepreneurs have found a way to flourish. Niche shops and eateries are popping up near new market rate housing and refurbished neighborhoods.

The U.S. Census Bureau says  employer firms with fewer than 100 workers employed 34.3 percent of private sector payrolls in 2011 and those with fewer than 20 workers employed 17.6 percent. These business owners are the risk takers in our community. They are local people with local ties who support the ball teams and sponsor local civic events.  The contribute to the local charities and serve on the local  boards. They are our neighbors, our friends, our relatives.  The backbone of our community.

You can support our future small business owners by supporting Lemonade Day on Saturday, May 7th.  The program teaches kids from throughout the region how to own and operate their own business, a lemonade stand.

For more information follow GREATER FALL RIVER LEMONADE DAY on FACEBOOK and don't forget to shop local!