Curbed Magazine – February 7, 2017
By Patrick Sisson
Whether it’s a single block of stores in an idyllic small town or the business district of a bustling urban square, every vision of Main Street America has something in common: a panoply of small businesses, symbols of American opportunity and success.
But in today’s economy, that vision often looks as realistic as a Rockwell painting. According to Dynamism in Retreat, a new report by the Economic Innovation Group, a bipartisan public policy think tank, small businesses aren’t just suffering—they’re in the midst of a striking, and historic, decline. …
Seattle: Crowdfunding the next new business
Small businesses famously have a terrible success rate. But perhaps even more troublesome in an era of shrinking business formation is how many good ideas don’t even get a chance due to the lack of startup funding.
The recession led to a much tighter loan market for small businesses, making capital a challenge. Banks tend to shy away from loans under $50,000 because of the amount of due diligence required, and in rural areas, the disappearance of community banks means many owners can’t even find a place to pitch.
“Access to capital is one of the biggest barriers for starting a business,” says Olivia LaVecchia of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit that promotes small businesses-friendly policies.
According to statistics from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, San Francisco’s independent retail scene now boasts twice as many independent bookstores as the much larger city of New York, as well as 80 local hardware stores, and more than 50 locally-owned grocery stores. And the city has invested even more in keeping these businesses running one they’re established. The recently enacted Legacy Business Registry and Preservation Fund provides employment and rent subsidies for long-running, legacy-approved businesses, and another tool to help keep the city’s commercial fabric intact.