Small businesses in Shelby Township and Utica are large part of community

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 22, 2021

 Jason Corbett’s business, Magoo’s Pet Outlet in Utica,  has experienced obstacles such as increasing supply chain issues and record inflation.

Jason Corbett’s business, Magoo’s Pet Outlet in Utica, has experienced obstacles such as increasing supply chain issues and record inflation.

Photo provided by Jason Corbett


SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA — Small businesses are an important part of the community in Shelby Township and Utica.

They are vital for job creation, boosting the local economy and preserving neighborhoods.

However, recently, there have been some major struggles for all businesses — especially the small ones.

Some businesses are facing shortages, while others are facing short staff.

Jason Corbett, the owner of Magoo’s Pet Outlet, said the main obstacles at the business in Utica include things like supply chain issues and inflation.

“Currently, we receive about half of everything we order. We also have to look at our pricing daily. With the rate of inflation, we are literally selling more products and making less money — or in some cases losing money — to be competitive,” he said in an email interview.

Corbett said they are lucky to have customers who understand what must be done in order to stay afloat.

“We are very fortunate to have a loyal customer base that understands the challenges of these small business woes. We are constantly looking at our price structure on a daily basis to offer the best value to our customers while keeping the store front open and retaining employees,” he said.

Small Business Saturday was created to follow Black Friday during the big shopping weekend following Thanksgiving. It puts the spotlight on small businesses and encourages people to spend money with their local merchants.

Corbett said small businesses have always been the lifeblood of any community.

“These people work, live and reinvest in their community. I also feel that small businesses have a better feel for what their communities’ needs and wants are,” Corbett said.

He said big-box stores run on a grand scale and can lose touch with the specifics of an individual community’s needs.

“For example, Big Box A has a home office in let’s say Arkansas with thousands of stores nationwide. What sells in Arkansas is far different than what sells in Michigan. Small businesses have a home office right in their community, thus being in touch with the demands of their customer base,” he said.

Both big and small businesses are needed in a community, but small businesses often have special personal appeal because they are very tied to the community. Some even specialize in a specific selection of items, such as pet supplies at Magoo’s. Thanks to small businesses, the city has something different on every block.

Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses account for more than 40% of the U.S. economy. Small businesses also account for 64% of all new jobs in the U.S.

Utica Mayor Gus Calandrino said that, at the local level, small businesses help define a community.

“Management and ownership of small businesses are in close contact with the residents they serve. Better than any large corporation, small-business owners understand the needs of their communities and can best serve their interests,” Calandrino said in an email.

He said owners of small businesses are often members of the community and have a vested interest in improving their city.

Magoo’s Pet Outlet is located at 45503 Schoenherr Road in Utica. For more information, visit