By Treasurer David McRae
There are many things we can appreciate about the state we call home, but one of the most prominent in my mind is the determination to not only survive the hard times, but thrive through them. Despite tornadoes and hurricanes, floods and unexpected freezes, our Main Streets remain strong cornerstones of our Mississippi way of life.
These Main Streets are made up of more than 250,000 small businesses, forming the foundation of our economy from which communities and livelihoods can be built – and this month, we celebrate each of them.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) annually recognizes the vital efforts put forth by entrepreneurs and small business owners during National Small Business Week, which occurred April 30 to May 6 this year. But I would argue that it’s our responsibility as citizens to celebrate these businesses every week, becoming regular patrons that keep our Main Streets standing strong.
As some of those reading may know, my own family’s story started as a small business. In 1902, my great grandfather – Samuel McRae – opened a dry goods store in Jackson, Mississippi. The dry goods store soon transformed into a department store and McRae’s storefronts popped up across the South. Over the decades, this family-owned business employed thousands – giving some their first job and others a full-blown career. All of that was possible because we were first a small business.
The last few years have been difficult for local businesses: mandatory lockdowns, supply chain issues, inflation, and federal policies that discouraged work. Altogether, it’s become harder to find products, workers and customers. But I truly believe in the resilience of our Main Street businesses – in part, because I believe in the people of Mississippi, who are not only owners and workers, but dedicated patrons through the good times and bad.
Please take a moment in the next few days to support a small business in your community. Consider filling a physical cart, instead of an online one. Purchase your morning cup of coffee from a local shop. Or buy your Mother’s Day flowers from an area florist instead of a 1-800 number. Whatever you choose, your decision to support a small business will reverberate throughout the community.
And to all those involved with a small business, thank you for all you do.
Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi. In this role, he helps manage the state’s cash flow, oversees College Savings Mississippi, and has returned nearly $65 million in unclaimed money to Mississippians. For more information, visit Treasury.MS.gov.