BY QUINT STUDER FOR STRONG TOWNS
It’s an exciting time for small and midsize towns and cities. All across America, community leaders are on fire to find solutions for the challenges the past couple of decades have brought. They’re seeking new ways to spark growth, to keep young people from moving away, and to revitalize half-vacant downtowns.
One of the best and most powerful approaches is to deliberately nurture and grow their small business communities.
Small businesses can be underappreciated and under-supported, and that’s a shame. After all, when a downtown is filled with cool coffee shops, locally owned restaurants, microbreweries, and quirky boutiques—together with plenty of strong non-retail players like architects, ad agencies, and attorneys—that downtown is often the heart and soul of a vibrant community.
A strong small business presence—especially one that thrives in the context of a busy, livable, walkable downtown—is what gives a community its character. It creates that sense of “place” that attracts tourists, young people and empty nesters (increasing numbers of both groups want to live downtown), a talented workforce, and yes, bigger businesses and other investors who drive further growth.
I can’t say enough about how crucial small business is to economic health—and now more than ever before…