Small business owners remain optimistic despite pandemic

Small business owners remain optimistic despite pandemic

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -According to a recent study by the National Federation of Independent Business, some small business owners are not as optimistic about sales in 2021 as in years past.

The NFIB website says the group has collected data from its members through a quarterly survey since 1973 and a monthly survey since 1986. Small business owners participated in this survey in January 2021.

“The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index declined in January to 95.0, down 0.9 from December and three points below the 47-year average of 98. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined seven points to a net negative 23%, the lowest level since November 2013. The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions has fallen 55 points over the past four months.” The full report can be found here.

Claudette Suton, owner of Soul Sistas’ Diner on Grants Ferry Road says optimism has never left her business plan.

Suton opened her restaurant at the peak of the pandemic in May 2020. She says she was nervous about opening, but her faith helped her push through.

Business briefly slacked off, “But it is slowly coming back,” she said.

Thankfully Suton never left. Soul Sistas’ is still hanging on, while many small businesses were forced to close due to the pandemic.

The daily customers have kept the lights on and the fries frying since opening day. Suton says she and her staff are grateful for their faithful lunch and dinner crowd, “Sometimes we start their food, so it will be hot, ready for them when they walk through the door.”

That survey resulted in an optimism dip granted not a major dip, but certainly, a mindset has changed for some. Just not for Suton or Ronald Traxler, owner of Impression Books.

Traxler recalls avid readers not skipping a beat last summer, “People would come in and load up. Literally to take books home to read.”

That’s not to say that after a year and a half, with the majority being in a pandemic, this bookstore hasn’t seen a cloudy day or two. Traxler says they are solid, “Just about back to where we were this time last year concerning revenue. So, even though it has been a roller coaster, up and down, down and up, we are stable now.” He says based on that, their projections and volume are increasing.

Traxler says they are capitalizing on the demand for online sales and curbside pickup, “Since we opened, we learned quickly to listen to our clientele,” Traxler says. Their online service allows patrons to request a book. The books can be mailed or are available for store pickup.

As for these two businesses, their customers might have put the fork down and pushed away from the book, but it sounds like they always come back, “There is still, there probably always will be something aesthetic about the printed page,” Traxler says.

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