Small businesses are the life blood of a local community. “Small business is really big business, especially in predominantly rural communities like central Louisiana,” said Chamber President Deborah Randolph. “Small businesses create the majority of jobs in a community and they provide ongoing support. Whether it’s sponsoring a youth sports team or donating goods and services for fundraising efforts, local small business owners are constantly reinvesting and giving back in their community.”
Research shows approximately 67 cents of every dollar spent with a local small business stays in the local community. That is compared to only 1 percent of dollars spent with an online retailer. Further, every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity as a result of employee spending and businesses purchasing local goods and services.
Supporting local small businesses is a priority for the Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber provides continuing support through the Come Together Locally campaign. This campaign includes marketing support for local small businesses and encourages residents to shop locally.
Businesses can download support materials and access resources for business owners. You can learn more at comethogetherlocally.com.
The Chamber partners with numerous local groups to support area small businesses, including the City of Alexandria, Louisiana Central (formerly the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance or CLEDA), the Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority (GAEDA), and Louisiana State University of Alexandria.
In January, a new Small Business Development Center was established in the Chamber office. Evelyn Jones, who has an extensive background working with local businesses, serves as a business consultant.
“What is offered by the Small Business Development Center is high-quality, technical assistance for businesses and matching that business with the type of assistance that they need, whether it’s access to capital or creating a detailed business plan or marketing plan, whatever the need is for that business to become successful,” explained Randolph.
The Small Business Development Center is the product of a partnership between the Chamber and the LSUA College of Business. For more information, contact Evelyn Jones at 318-545-5077.
“Small businesses have been especially hard hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Randolph said. “It’s always important to support small businesses, but they need our support more than ever this year.”