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New “State of Local” survey shows mix of optimism and concern for local business conditions

More than 70 percent of local business owners reported favorable sales numbers in 2022.

Trevor Dickerson

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According to a new report from InUnison, the organization formerly known as the Retail Merchants Association, Richmond area local businesses are showing robust financial performance, reporting revenue exceeding $170,000,000. The first ever “State of Local” report showed more than 70 percent of businesses ended 2022 at a profit or break-even point, with 57 percent ending the year profitable.

InUnison developed the State of Local survey as a benchmarking tool tailored for local, independent businesses in the Richmond region. The report surveyed 100 individual businesses based in the City of Richmond, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico and Powhatan between May 24 and June 24, 2023.

Other notable findings from the include:

  • 52 percent of respondents are currently hiring, with 59 percent of those noting optimism in the high quality of the candidates.
  • More than two-thirds (68 percent) of local businesses prioritize employee input in their business strategy.
  • 93 percent of respondents have a physical location or storefront, accounting for more than 554,000 square feet of commercial space in the region.

“At InUnison, we recognize the opportunities and challenges these businesses face, and focus on offering the resources that will help them succeed,” said Nancy Thomas, President & CEO of InUnison. “Local business owners and operators provide much more than just products and services – they’re the lifeblood of our community.”

Despite this healthy outlook, the current economic environment has left local businesses feeling uncertain about the future. The majority of respondents are very or somewhat concerned about

both the U.S. (90%) and local economies (71%). Respondents also showed concern for the small business conditions locally here in Richmond (72%).

“When you run a local business, especially a small one, it can feel overwhelming,” said Sarah Paxton from local furniture store LaDIFF. “It helps to remember that we’re not alone, and a rising tide lifts all boats. It’s always helpful to hear from other business owners whether for collaboration or commiseration! This research and the community opportunities provided from InUnison bring so much value to my team and me.”

InUnison aids local Richmond area businesses through legislative efforts, mentorship programs, direct-to-consumer marketing programs, industry roundtables and more. The organization will be hosting a Learning Lab event on August 10 to review the State of Local report. Local business owners and operators can sign up to become a member and attend for free at InUnison.org.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.