DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – It’s the second Small Business Saturday of the pandemic, and many small businesses need local shoppers now more than ever, including minority-owned local stores.

Dayton Entrepreneur and Small Business Advocate Tae Winston says that the pandemic has hit minority businesses the hardest. Winston says giving back to the community is a huge priority to small business owners, and the pandemic hasn’t made that easy.

“We’ve just been struggling. We’ve done everything we could,” said Winston. “I know for me I just have been very creative trying to host events, on top of still trying to give back and support my businesses. So, minority small businesses need support now more than ever.”

According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship, while minorities make up 32% of the population, minority business owners only make up 18% of the population.

“We don’t have a lot of big funding coming in from investors. You know, we just don’t have that support that bigger companies have,” said Winston.

Winston says funding for her stores comes out of her own pocket, and the pandemic has created further strain on that. “When the pandemic hit and things slowed down it affected me very hard because I’m living off my dream and my finances only.”

Due to these struggles caused by COVID19, Winston is encouraging people to shop locally, not just this Small Business Saturday, but whenever they can. From items with a personal touch to more intimate customer care, Winston says shopping local remains key for many business owners to succeed. “You come in the shop with us 24/7. It’s keeping those doors open, and giving these vendors more hope.”