May is National Small Business Month.

There has never been a year where Americans are more aware of the impact that small businesses play in our everyday life. So many of our businesses are able to reopen and many in particular sectors have enjoyed record years. Other sectors have been hit much harder because of mandated shutdowns and capacity requirements.

Local restaurants, pubs and event spaces give our community unique identity. They are gathering places where we connect with friends and family and celebrate milestones in our lives. They are bragging points for out of town business contacts and visitors.

We can all name a restaurant, pub or theatre and event space that we love to take out-of-town guests so they can marvel at the high quality found in our Small City. These businesses give our community character and flavor, but they are also economic drivers and employers: 60% of people employed in those industries work for small businesses.

The American Rescue Plan established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) and amended the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant to provide grants for eligible small businesses. These opportunities cover a large range of businesses. Even if your business didn’t originally qualify, you may qualify now.

We are fortunate as well to have free local resources like the Kentucky Small Business Development Center, led by Small Business Coach Jamie Johnson and located upstairs from the Chamber office at 200 East Third St. This week, we hosted a webinar with Ms. Johnson. Please visit our Facebook page or our website to determine if your business is covered.

In closing, today we celebrate Mother’s Day. So many of our corporate leaders, small business owners and the employees that staff these places are also moms. This past year, there have been tough choices, no-win situations, last-minute schedule changes and a plethora of problems to solve at home, often while more was required at work. You are appreciated. Deeply.

Mom, thank you for teaching me how to be tough and to keep going no matter what happens. I love you.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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