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SF Small Business Week. Celebrate Small Business.

Why Do Communities Need Small Businesses?

marcusbooksAccording to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, small businesses with less than 100 employees provide jobs to 283,000 people — approximately half of San Francisco’s entire workforce.  These business are not only the backbone of the local economy, they also shape our communities, define our neighborhoods, and help cement San Francisco’s reputation as a world-class destination.

The organizers of San Francisco Small Business Week 2013 interviewed a cross-section of small business owners and small business experts to gather their thoughts about why communities need small businesses.

Here’s what they said:

“Small business is a big part of the soul of a city. Corporations and large businesses often aren’t representative of the people and culture that make a city like San Francisco tick. Small businesses enjoy both a direct connection to the community and the intimacy of scale to be able to process and feed off of that connection. Small businesses are also much more elastic and far less restrained, and are therefore more apt to reflect and serve the community in a colorful and genuine way.”

– Christian Noto, Split Pea Seduction/Jersey Tomatoes

“In small business, there is usually a person who is accessible behind the brand; and often a meeting place where neighbors feel safe and comforted and where their input and business is appreciated.”

– Cheryl Burr, Pinkie’s Bakery

“Small businesses make the world go around and are the heart of any community. Globally small businesses provide the neighborhood services and products need by those who live and work in the community.  From local food  like fresh baked goods and farmers market veggies to clothing and jewelry, from mani/pedis, haircuts and facials  to pet sitters and vets, from fine art galleries to home re-modelers and plumbers to web designers and the guy who fixes watches-these products and services are all provided by small businesses. What would we do without them? I so love this community and I am privileged to work here every day!”

– Gwendolyn Wright, The Wright Consultants

“Small businesses are more concerned with the needs of people, whereas corporations tend to revere money over the needs of people.”

– Gregory Johnson, Marcus Bookstore

“Small businesses make each neighborhood unique. The diversity of small business makes a neighborhood exciting and entertaining. Communities need to be inspired. Small businesses can inspire pride and originality. When the merchants can create an environment that enriches the community; to stay local, be proud, and engage, we support each other and make lasting friendships and relationships!”

– Heather Young, Rock Candy Snack Shop

“Communities need small businesses because we provide jobs for many people, support other local businesses and we give back to the community.  At Parties That Cook, we provide many jobs for those in low income neighborhoods.”

– Bibby Gignilliat, Parties that Cook

“Small businesses give people hope because its people just like them that are creating amazing things. People say “Oh, they’re doing this I can do this too”. We have a manifesto at Trouble Coffee that is all about creating your own world, taking responsibility and believing in yourself and others to create community. If I could do it, anyone could do it. I knew that I could bring people together and I think that when people saw that you saw a whole neighborhood inspired to do it after me. If I could do it so could they.”

– Guilietta Carrelli, Trouble Coffee

“Small businesses define the character of our neighborhoods in San Francisco. The appropriate mix of small businesses enriches and energizes a particular area, which attracts tourism and inspires residents to shop locally. Small businesses invest in their communities by hiring locally, engaging in local politics, donating to nonprofits, building parklets and other community spaces, and doing all the critical things that make our neighborhoods more enjoyable.  Small businesses are the advocates of local development and define the flavor and culture of this city – with “pop-ups”, food trucks, trunk shows and an involvement in the local areas where they live, work and play.”

– Paul Terry, Paul Terry & Associates

“Communities need small businesses as a means of reconnection. I believe that small business feel accessible to consumers. They are the reason to understand the term ‘support local’ and the basis of a great thought or dream.”

– Nikol Elaine, Nikol Elaine Makeup Artistry

“Small businesses cater to, give back to, and provide employment for their communities. They bring innovation and new ideas into the marketplace.”

– Zel Anders, Tomboy Tailors

“Communities need small business because they are often the engine of economic growth in local economies. They also typically are more connected to the community that they serve and are much more likely to support local non-profits.”

– Tom Frainier, Semifreddi’s

“Small businesses hire local employees which has a ripple effect throughout the community. San Francisco businesses are often great at sponsoring or hosting local events and participating in neighborhood celebrations. It is the variety of unique small businesses that make San Francisco such a popular travel destination for Americans and international tourists. The different businesses on display provide a different character to each of San Francisco’s original neighborhoods. But local businesses don’t exist because of the tourists; they exist because San Franciscans appreciate small business and show their support by shopping locally whenever possible. San Francisco small business is for the people and by the people.”

– Mark Quinn, U.S. Small Business Administration

“Small businesses allow people to support one another and build communities.  Small businesses create jobs and help communities thrive and grow.”

– Beth Peterson, BPE Global

“Small businesses are our communities! They reflect the needs of the people that live within those communities and help out by hiring local residents. Business owners take pride in their spaces and strive to maintain their neighborhoods and keep them safe. Creating a thriving environment for small businesses in our communities is a win-win for residents and business owners alike.”

– Lorena Roman, Working Solutions

“I believe communities need small businesses for many reasons, but I will choose 3 that are really important to Mission Cheese.

  1. “To support other businesses/producers doing good things. I love paying our vendors because they are doing/creating amazing things. In doing this we help them provide…
  2. “Jobs! Communities need good jobs where people feel important & that their opinions matter.
  3. “A gathering place. Communities need common space to come together & get to know one another, share stories, & become friends.”

– Sarah Dvorak, Mission Cheese

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