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Promoting and encouraging people to shop local. #SFSBW2015 Interview with San Francisco Council of District Merchants

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Henry Karnilowicz, President, San Francisco Council of District Merchants.

Tell us about your organization in one sentence.

In 1953 there was only the Chamber of Commerce which did not include all the merchants in the city thus a group of merchants, under the leadership of Walter Jebbe, got together and formed the Council of District Merchants Associations.SFCDMA logo

What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace?

Promoting and encouraging people to shop local.

What is your organization doing to attract and support new and younger small business owners who are starting out today? What are you doing to bridge the gap between old and new businesses?

Through media and the press, including distributing newsletters, we are advocating for new businesses including having events where merchants can network. We also reach out to new businesses to offer referrals such as with complying with ADA.

Please describe one of your organization’s innovations. How has this enhanced way you reach and serve your clients or members?

We are encouraging merchants to join the local network, Townsquared and also to advertise in the local guides through Via Media.

What is one lesson you would like to share with small business owners—especially those who are struggling to change the way they do business in the current climate?

Hire good sales people and have frequent events providing snacks and refreshments.

What is the most important belief or principle that guides your work and the trajectory of your organization?

Teamwork and one voice will impact issues to help businesses be successful and grow.

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