Small business optimism in U.S. nearing record high

The owner of The Black Scintilla is optimistic about the store's future. (Caroline Vandergriff/KOKH).

Small business optimism is at a near all-time high, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business.

The NFIB says it’s the second-highest reading in the 44-year history of the index. The report also found an increase in the number of small business owners who think it's a good time to expand and create more jobs. The group believes that is evidence of a strong labor market.

“It’s an encouraging sign when the national data points that way, and I’d argue the local area probably mirrors that pretty closely,” said Kurt Foreman, executive vice president of economic development for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

Several small business owners in Midtown said they feel very optimistic about 2018.

Trade Men’s Wares just celebrated four years of business.

“Up and down for the first little while while we tried to figure things out,” said Daniel McLoud, owner of Trade Men’s Wares. “Through the last year to 18 months, we’ve seen some pretty solid growth.”

McLoud thinks the upward trend will continue.

“With the continued growth, with the streetcar coming in, I fully believe it’s only going to get bigger,” McLoud said. “And the community has really gotten behind the small businesses and supported them.”

McCloud’s optimism is matched by another shop owner around the corner.

“I think 2018 is going to be another awesome year for sure,” said Rachael Gruntmeir, owner of The Black Scintilla. “I definitely feel optimistic about it, but I've never not felt optimistic. People support and love our local scene here so much.”

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber says this area is consistently ranked as one of the top places to start a business.

“We’re among one of the most competitive cost places to operate, and I think just an ease of getting around and doing things,” said Foreman.

A community that embraces small business owners is another plus.

“If it wasn’t for the love and support of the community, we wouldn’t be able to do it,” said McLoud.

If you want to support your local businesses, you can pick up a Keep It Local card for $15. It offers deals and discounts at hundreds of small businesses across the state.

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