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Supporting small businesses.

One of my favorite parts of Saint Petersburg, Fla., apart from it being my home base, is that I usually visit at least one local business every day: my choices in grocery store, coffee shop, dinner spot and theaters are all born-and-bred in St.Pete. There’s even a formal organization called “Keep St. Petersburg Local,” that actively supports small businesses. Even when I am on the road, I like to try out local businesses whenever possible. I’m not alone. More and more consumers are interested in supporting local businesses. According to Gallup, 70% of consumers have confidence in small businesses, compared to 20% confidence in big businesses.

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy defines a small business as one that has fewer than 500 employees. Using that definition, small businesses comprise 99.7% of all companies in the United States. If we whittle down the list to businesses with less than twenty employees, there are 5.2 million in the United States today. Offering products and services from books to office furniture, from coffee to boutique clothing, small businesses employ millions of Americans and breathe life into the local economy.

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