Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. They contribute nearly half of the country’s total GDP and create two of every three net new jobs. Small business owners create jobs, spark innovation, and reinvest in the local economy. To many, small businesses are also the heart of their communities with unwavering commitment to where they live and work.
The proof of their commitment is heightened during times of adversity, reminding us how caring our small businesses can be to those that matter most: their neighbors. Our country is on day 24 of a government shutdown, and nearly 800,000 federal employees have missed their first paycheck. Businesses owners have taken the initiative to help alleviate the financial distress by offering “furlough freebies” and “shutdown specials” for those affected.
Here are just a few examples:
· New Jersey coffee chain, Hidden Grounds, is offering free coffee to any government employee during the shutdown.
· Federal employees can get a free meal up to $50 at The British Beer Company from any of their 10 pub locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
· Poor Richard’s, a local business in Colorado Springs, is offering free meals to federal employees and their families.
· A haircut may be considered a luxury to be put on hold, so Top Knot Beauty in Metairie, Louisiana, is donating free cuts.
· Four Virginia locations of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema are offering federal employees free movies throughout the month of January.
· Washington Improv Theater, in D.C., is offering free comedy workshops for furloughed federal employees.
Research has shown that kindness is viral. Jamil Zaki, a Stanford psychologist and director of the university's Social Neuroscience Lab, even coined the phenomenon “kindness contagion.” When people see others around them being generous or empathetic, they become more inclined to mirror that behavior, exponentially multiplying its original effect.
Across the country, we are seeing a chain reaction of local businesses stepping up to help families affected by the shutdown. Their acts of kindness are motivating other businesses, groups and individuals to reach out and help in whatever way they can.
The principle of sharing kindness is foundational to who we are at seedership. When kindness is celebrated it inspires more kindness, it builds trust and helps bring out the best in our humanity, and the world can certainly use more of that. We believe this so strongly, we built a digital platform to help local businesses track, visualize and share the good they do with their employees,customers, partners and community.
So, we thank all the local business across the country for leading the way. It’s important for us in the community to show our appreciation by supporting them with our business. Our wallets can be our vote and help them to keep doing more good.
Have you seen or heard about one of those businesses in your local community? We would love to hear about it.