As a whole, Badger State businesses bounced back sooner and stronger than the rest of the country.
2022 was a rebound year for many business owners and the people who frequent them. These stories showcase the key role strong leadership and supportive communities (aka YOU) play in helping businesses– of every size– succeed.
1. Gov. Evers Prioritized Small Businesses in His COVID Response. That Paid Off.
Wisconsin’s Main Street Bounceback was a lifeline for many small business owners in limbo: unsure of whether they should shut down for good or try to reopen. The program gave $10,000 to local entrepreneurs who opened a new, brick-and-mortar location or expanded their business into a vacant commercial space.
The initiative was a win-win for small businesses and small towns, where after the pandemic, many main streets were half-full, at best. More than 4,200 businesses (& counting) benefited from the program, funded through Pres. Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
2. Politicians Pushed for Equity, Support for Black-Owned Businesses Year-Round.
For only the second time in history, the entire country celebrated Juneteenth as a federal holiday, and in Wisconsin, leaders encouraged that “celebration” to continue past one single day.
In addition to flying the Juneteenth flag above the state capitol, Evers encouraged Wisconsinites to seek and shop at locally-owned BIPOC businesses all year.
More than 45,000 businesses have registered as Black-owned on Yelp, making them easier to find. Travel Wisconsin also has a webpage dedicated to lists of the state’s most established and emerging Black-owned businesses.
3. When We Shop Local, Money Stays Local.
It turns out– shopping small can make a big difference! According to the Small Business Administration’s 2022 report, $68 of every $100 spent at a local business stays local (compared to $43 spent at national chains.) With nearly half of all Wisconsinites working at small businesses, the impact of that quickly multiplies!
Wisconsin is filled with great shopping districts in towns of every size. Travel Wisconsin, the state’s official tourism website, compiled a list of can’t-miss small towns with celebrated shopping scenes.
What Does This Mean for 2023 (& beyond)?
It’s on all of us to help Wisconsin business continue to rebound nearly three years after the first round of COVID shutdowns. Simple swaps, like buying from a locally-owned business rather than ordering on Amazon, swiftly add up!