Owens, Salt Lake-Area Small Business Owners Discuss Challenges and Opportunities on the ‘Road to Recovery’

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – On Wednesday, October 12, 2022, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) visited LatterDayBride in Bluffdale, Utah, for a tour and a roundtable discussion with Salt Lake-area small business owners on the challenges small businesses still face on the ‘Road to Recovery.’ 

The visit to the small business started with a tour led by Nicole Thomas of LatterDayBride. Following the tour, Rep. Owens participated in a roundtable discussion. The attending Utah small business owners — Nicole Thomas of LatterDayBride, Tim McConnehey of Izzard Ink, Gretchen Figge of Elf Works, Inc., and Ryan Gwilliam of TrainWalkPoop — are members of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community and graduates of the 10,000 Small Businesses program delivered in partnership with Salt Lake Community College.

During the roundtable, Rep. Owens heard about the difficulties the small businesses have encountered during their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including workforce challenges, the impact of inflation and supply chain disruptions, and competing with larger businesses. The small business owners also addressed the need to reauthorize and modernize the Small Business Administration and what elected leaders can do to help small businesses.

“Utah’s 300,000+ small businesses have a big impact on our state’s economic success,” said Rep. Owens. “I’m thankful for the dedicated team behind Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices for their tireless efforts to support Utah’s Main Street job creators on their road to recovery and ensure the continued success of our small and local businesses.” 

Recent a nationwide survey of small business owners from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community found that small businesses are bearing the brunt of economic issues, such as supply chain disruptions and inflation, and fear they are losing ground to bigger companies as they absorb inflationary pressures and compete for workers. 

Additionally, the survey found that 81% of small business owners believe reauthorizing and modernizing the SBA should be a top priority for 118th Congress. The SBA, the federal agency charged with supporting American small businesses, was reauthorized by Congress seven times between 1980-2000, but the Agency has not been reauthorized since. Prioritizing SBA’s reauthorization would help put small businesses on stronger footing to compete with larger businesses. 

“Small business owners are resilient and committed to remaining a core part of the local economy and our communities, but the road to recovery from the pandemic continues to present serious challenges,” said Nicole Thomas, owner of LatterDayBride. “As members of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community, we appreciate Congressman Owens for hearing us out and learning from us. We look forward to working with him on the reforms needed to address these challenges, so small businesses can come back even stronger.”

“Business practices and the realities we face have changed since the Small Business Administration was last reauthorized more than 20 years ago. Modernizing and reauthorizing the agency is a tangible action Congress can take to put small businesses on stronger footing,” continued Thomas

Other toplines from the survey data include:

  • Recruiting and hiring workers is the top challenge for small business owners, with many reporting they are unable to compete with bigger companies for qualified workers. 
  • 74% of small business owners experiencing hiring challenges cite competition with larger employers on pay and benefits as their biggest impediment.
  • 96% of small business owners say inflationary pressures have increased or stayed the same since June.
  • 83% of small business owners say they are concerned their customers may turn to bigger companies given their ability to better withstand inflationary pressures and potentially offer more competitive pricing.
  • 62% anticipate a recession in the next year, while 43% believe the U.S. economy is already in a recession.

The event was part of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices ‘Road to Recovery,’ a cross-country series of bipartisan events connecting elected officials with small business owners and giving participating elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels the opportunity to listen and learn from small business owners directly about challenges and opportunities facing small businesses coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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