Businesses still need emergency aid

Updated 9/22/2021 1:09 PM

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, our state and county governments led the way on deploying critical grant funding to keep small businesses afloat. Thankfully, their work continues, with the state of Illinois' $250 million Back 2 Business grant program, which will infuse funds into hard-hit industries. But, as we face an uncertain future fueled by the Delta variant, many small businesses around Chicagoland, mine included, are struggling. Last week was National Small Business Week, a timely reminder to support local businesses and request more emergency funding for our small business community.

Like other small business owners, I've done everything in my power to keep my lifestyle boutique, The Collective lhe LLC + Makery, afloat this past year and a half. I changed my marketing strategy by meeting consumers on social media with virtual events, new ads and a Facebook Shop digital storefront accessible to shoppers across the country.


I've been very fortunate that these changes allowed my small business to survive. But, the fight for survival isn't over -- many business owners need our help as the harsh economic conditions of the pandemic persist. New data shows that 35% of small businesses in Illinois expect to experience cash flow challenges.

During this National Small Business Week, I ask Illinoisans to support future emergency business grants for struggling small businesses. And, if possible, to empty their online shopping carts and visit a small business in the community. And please, if you have a good experience with a small business, leave a positive review or follow the shop on Facebook or Instagram. Small but intentional actions will create the sustained support our small business community needs this week and every week thereafter.

Autumn Geist


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