Last week was National Small Business Week, and we want to recognize the achievements of small businesses.

According to the Small Business Administration, nearly half of the jobs in Alabama are provided by businesses with less than 100 employees. While we celebrate announcements of new or expanding industries bringing a large number of jobs to a community, if you add up all the jobs in small businesses, you can see the impact small businesses have on employment and the economy.

It takes courage, ingenuity and stamina to take a germ of an idea and transform it into a thriving business. Twenty percent of small businesses fail within the first year; by year five, 50% will have failed.

This year has been particularly rough, with stores being temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was encouraging to see how many of Cullman’s small businesses evolved to continue their operations. These small businesses owners demonstrated ingenuity and resilience in the face of seemingly impossible odds.

It was also very encouraging to see so many people invested in making sure the businesses survived. The federal Paycheck Protection Program certainly helped many small businesses, but without the determination of owners and the support of the community, the toll of the shutdown would have been much higher.

Not all small businesses have come through unscathed. According to the Small Business Bureau, employers with 20 to 49 employees had an employment decline of 21.5 percent from March to April. Fortunately, we are seeing businesses rebound, and we hope that even with the changes wrought by the coronavirus, they continue to grow and thrive.

The Cullman Times is proud to be among Cullman’s small businesses. We know the value they bring to the local economy. Our 30 employees pay taxes in Cullman County, shop here, use their health insurance benefits with local Cullman County health providers and contribute to the community in many ways. The Times also pays property taxes and prints five newspapers out of our Cullman office, bringing additional economic value into the community.

We salute our fellow small businesses and thank our subscribers and advertisers, who support us as a business and as a valuable member of this community.

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