LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — As we start to come out of the pandemic applications for new businesses in Tallahassee are on the rise.
In 2020, the Office of Economic Vitality there were over 7,000 applications, which is up 81% since 2015.
This data proves to OEV officials Leon County's local economy is rebounding from the pandemic.
Director Cristina Paredes said businesses kept going because of three simple words: Love your local.
She said it started as a small business initiative 4 years ago, but turned into the phrase love your local because of the pandemic.
"We encourage all of our residents and businesses alike to take the opportunity to explore and experience a local business," Paredes said.
This simple slogan is part of a larger movement to get more people to shop local, especially during the holidays.
For Toy Nation owner Debra Eyler the holiday season is the busiest for her business.
"Most toy stores make about 50% of their income in the last three months of the year," Eyler said.
Like most businesses, the pandemic wasn't easier for her.
"We had to basically close down and then once we opened back up we were mostly curbside pick up," Eyler said.
Paredes said keeping small businesses open during the pandemic helps the local economy.
For every dollar spent at a small business, 67 cents goes directly back into the community.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that small businesses create over 400% more net jobs than large businesses.
"We take money in, then we spend money," Eyler said. "We go to local restaurants and eat so the money stays in the community."
The office of economic vitality set up an online directory with all the businesses involved.
Join their small business directory by reaching out to their office.