Small businesses react to Trump saying confidence at an all time high
COLUMBIA - Some local retailers and restaurants in downtown Columbia agree with President Trump that it has been a good year for small business, but they don't agree on whether Trump's policies are to thank.
In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Trump said small business confidence is at an all time high.
The manager at Envy, a local retailer, said she feels confident in the business and its consumers.
"All of the sudden, we get a lot more customers, people are shopping smaller rather than at the larger chain stores, because we offer more stuff that's not at the chain stores," Damara Stewart said.
She said business is defintely growing.
"Oh, yeah, people are buying," Stewart said.
Matt McCormick, president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, said he is hearing good things from local businesses.
"Really good things, we're seeing things that we haven't seen in a number of years," McCormick said.
He said small businesses create more jobs than anything else in the community. Columbia's unemployment is below 2 percent, and according to McCormick, a lot of that has to do with more small businesses hiring more employees.
He said after the great recession, recovery was slow, and it took some time for businesses to feel completely confident again.
"We're out of that recession, we have been for a couple years, but we're finally hitting that spot where people are comfortable and they're starting to do expansions," McCormick said. "Hiring more people, maybe expanding their business line, maybe expanding their product lines."
He said some local businesses are already benefiting from tax reform - and some have given out bonuses to pass that on to employees.
"Looking out on that horizon, thing's are looking good, and will continue to look good," McCormick said.
A server and bartender at Tellers Gallery and Bar, Kalvin Bartholomew, said restaurants are affected by different things, such as the weather.
"I think restaurants have a unique experience in the way that they aren't affected too much by presidential actions, we are very cyclical in that way," Bartholomew said.
He said, as students come back in town and get settled, the restaurant will see more customers come to dine.
"I don't think Trump's policies have affected the restaurant either negatively or positively," he said.
However, he said business is doing well.
"I feel like the past year has been a good year for Tellers, absolutely.