According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2019), military veterans are disproportionately likely to live in rural areas, where they comprise 8.8% of the population compared to only 6.4% in urban areas. These veterans are disproportionately likely to be entrepreneurs. While 6.9% of the general population identifies as a military veteran, over 10% of entrepreneurs identify as military veterans. According to the Annual Business Survey (2019), veteran-owned firms make up about 5.9% of all businesses with 3.9 million employees and $177.7 billion in annual payroll. Of these 331,151 veteran-owned firms, 8.96% (29,671) are in retail trade.
How does shopping at small, veteran-owned retail trade firms benefit the local economy? First, in the last Community Development article, Dr. Rebekka Dudensing highlighted the value of shopping local, with every $1 spent at a small business generating $1.17 in the local economy. Second, research shows that locally oriented (rural) retail establishments are associated with other pieces of a vibrant local economy, such as small manufacturing establishments, civic associations, places to gather (“third places”), social capital, and civic engagement.
Nationally, we find from the 2020 Annual Business Survey that 81% of veteran-owned retail trade firms employ between 1 and 19 employees. These veteran-owned firms also have a higher per-employee income, putting your dollars back into local households.
Carpenter, Craig, and Michael Lotspeich-Yadao. “Local Vetrepreneurs Contribute to Rural Communities.” Southern Ag Today 2(4.5). January 21, 2022. Permalink