Small businesses have been at the losing end of the U.S. economy for decades, but nothing has diminished their stature like the Covid-19 crisis. Thousands of small firms have been driven out of business while their larger counterparts have largely survived and, in some cases, even flourished.

The danger is that as a result U.S. economic power will reside in fewer hands, diminishing the innovation and entrepreneurship that have helped drive the country’s success.

In 1989 businesses with fewer than 100 employees accounted for 40% of the workers employed by all U.S. firms, according to the Census Bureau. Newly released data show that as of 2018 that had fallen to 33%.

Now it is almost certainly even lower. Small-business transaction data collected by software and business-services provider Womply show that about 1 in 5 businesses that were open in January have stopped transacting entirely. Most of them have likely closed

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Retail bankruptcies are piling up during the pandemic, and a record number of brick-and-mortar stores are expected to permanently close this year. But one discount furniture and home decor chain is cleaning up.



a person sitting in a living room: A Big Lots store in Columbus, Ohio.


© Big Lots
A Big Lots store in Columbus, Ohio.

Big Lots, a retailer with more than 1,400 US stores, saw sales stagnate in recent years but experienced record sales growth during its most recent quarter, gaining market share from rivals. Its stock price has surged nearly 60% this year, making it one of the top stocks of 2020.

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Big Lots’ no-frills stores with bright white and orange signs have a wide mix of merchandise — everything from mattresses, couches, lamps and kitchen appliances to toys, snacks, pet food and cleaning supplies. During the summers, stores feature patio furniture and gazebos, while Christmas trims and fireplaces are highlighted in the winter.

This broad range of

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To the Editor;

Musicians, venue owners and music lovers across New York state were left scratching their heads last week.

The NY SLA released guidelines for restaurants and bars that prohibit advertising or charging a fee for live music. They declared live music “must be incidental.”

What the heck is “incidental music”?

The live music ecosystem has been decimated by Covid-19, and after months of being closed with no income, many of us had just gotten our doors open again or were preparing to do so.

Empire State Development gave us the green light to present live music when CNY entered Phase 4. My colleagues and I understood that being allowed to reopen came with great responsibility. We needed to put every possible safety measure into place. We are innovators by nature, and we applied our creativity to completely reimagining our business concepts in the time of Covid. Many of

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The cancellation of the fall season promises to wallop businesses that count on those fall weekends for survival, and the economic impact is likely to measure in the tens of millions in many of the towns across the sprawling conference.

“We’re like a lot of businesses: We rely on the back-to-school and football season to really be our big moneymaking months,” said Michael Weber, vice president of Weber’s Boutique Hotel in Ann Arbor, Mich.

For decades now, the downtown hotel has been packed on fall weekends. Fans from all over pour into town to fill the country’s largest stadium and also fill one of the area’s most storied hotels. For many, the pregame brunch and postgame dinners at Weber’s are staples.

This week’s news that the Big Ten would not be playing football this fall wasn’t just a gut punch; it struck businesses and industries that already had been walloped

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