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Survey: Small business optimism on the rise


The future looks bright for small businesses, according to the recently released  MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index. Two groups expressing the greatest confidence in the economy are female entrepreneurs and business owners in the Midwest.


Two of every three small business owners report feeling optimism about their entity’s economic future and the overall small business climate in the United States. Sixty-five percent of the female respondents expressed confidence about their small business’s bottom line. Sixty-one percent of the males shared that outlook. Just over one-third of the women surveyed said they expect to hire additional employees in the next 12 months while 30 percent of the male business owners indicated they would, too.

Emily Windle-Halpin, whose professional life is akin to an episode of television’s “American Pickers,” says that in 2018, her three-year-old business has “just taken off.” The Ohio resident’s enterprise is The Royal Stockyard, which Windle-Halpin describes as a “cultivation of picked goods.” Whether a family has invited Windle-Halpin to sift through a deceased family member’s heirlooms for resalable merchandise, or she is busily overseeing her monthly barn sales featuring her hand-picked inventory or randomly knocking on someone’s door to see if they own anything of interest to the entrepreneur, she is busier than she has ever been.

A huge indication the economy is generating steam and Windle-Halpin’s reputation for quality merchandise at fair price are becoming more widely known is the attention she and her small business have garnered recently. For example, in the past month, she fielded calls from two people inviting her to ‘pick,’ or sift through their various possessions, to determine if she was interested in buying anything to resell at her shop.  By far the biggest indicator why she is optimistic is the recent phone call she received from the owner of an extremely popular Columbus furniture store with multiple locations in the capital city and two in Cincinnati. 

“The owner wants me to keep an eye out for certain items when I am on my picks. He pays very fairly and, if this relationship pans out, it will provide me with some fairly consistent income,” she says.

While another female solopreneur also expresses optimism about the economy, she does so with great trepidation, she says. 

“My outlook for the country is absolutely bleak. Regardless of how my biz may go - and it has been really good - it’s ultimately on the back of the have-nots and the totally screwed ‘others’,” says Bobbi Palmer, proprietor of Dating Like a Grownup. Through consultations and her active web site, Palmer counsels women over 40 about gaining (or regaining) self-respect to prepare themselves for mature, loving romantic relationships.

In her opinion, the timing is perfect for a business like hers. “I get to help more women bring love into their life. And that’s what the world needs now more than anything,” she says.

Her clients, who are primarily heterosexual, tend to be educated, compassionate, thoughtful women. “Progressive dems,” is how Palmer describes them. “With the country (and world) in such trouble, they are sad and afraid. I think that moves them to take action, whereas in better times, being single would be more palatable,” says Palmer.



Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer who tweets as @girlwithapen.


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