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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Main Street is finally beginning to rebuild from the hurricane that barely glanced Wall Street.

Between the lines: Small businesses are always particularly exposed when crisis hits, due to limited cash buffers, according to JPMorgan Chase Institute, which tracks anonymized credit and debit card data.

Axios Re:Cap, the afternoon podcast I host, this week is airing a special six-part series on America's small business comeback.

Three big trends that we've learned while putting together the Axios Re:Cap series.

  • 1. Tech-tonic shift. The pandemic rapidly accelerated the small business sales model move from offline-to-online, and data suggests that much of the shift is permanent. This also helps explain why so many tech startups were able to thrive in the pandemic, because they never had offline products in the first place.
  • 2. Thanks Sam: Most small business owners we spoke with received PPP loans. Some complained a bit about the early application process, but everyone was unanimous in their praise of the program, crediting it with helping them continue to pay employees and, in some cases, keep their doors open.
  • 3. No self-pity: Not a single small business owner expressed even an ounce of "woe is me." I wouldn't have blamed them if they did, given what they faced over the past 14 months, but they didn't (despite continuing labor shortages). If American small business was a bumper sticker, it would be "Shit Happens."

Take a listen: The podcast series launched yesterday with a view from the shopping centers (e.g., where big national chains rub shoulders with moms-and-pops), in which I speak with a top landlord and several of his tenants in an Allen, Texas property called The Villages.

Today's episode will focus on Black-owned small businesses, including a conversation with Shelly Bell, founder of Black Girl Ventures.

  • Beginning today we're also ending each episode with an "audio postcard" from iconic small businesses, including Pat's Famous Steaks (Philly), First Avenue Club (Minneapolis) and Pike Place Fish Market (Seattle).
  • You can find the series on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform.

Go deeper: Nearly 90% of small businesses say they're confident their shops will survive

Go deeper

May 24, 2021 - Podcasts

America's Business Comeback: A view from the shopping center

Shopping centers are where national retailers rub elbows with mom and pops.

Axios Re:Cap kicks off a new special series on America's small business recovery by speaking to the CEO of one of America's largest shopping center landlords, and several of his tenants in an Allen, Texas property called The Villages, to understand what happened over the past year and where things stand today.

Listen to this special Axios Re:Cap series all week. Subscribe for free.

Black-owned businesses gain confidence

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Support of Black-owned businesses has slowed since digital campaigns sparked a surge last year after George Floyd's death, but some owners say they now have more confidence that they can continue to grow.

Why it matters: News outlets, social media and e-commerce platforms rushed to find ways to support the Black community, including the promotion of Black-owned businesses — but it was never clear whether that support was authentic or whether it would last.

Juneteenth forces U.S. to confront lasting impact of slavery economy

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Corbis, Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Juneteenth, a once-obscure commemoration of emancipation of enslaved people in Texas, has transformed into an annual reminder about how slavery robbed Black Americans of generational wealth.

Why it matters: That lack of generational wealth still denies Black families the economic security that many white families take for granted.