Micro businesses may be small, but they pack a big punch.
Though defined as businesses with less than five employees, www.microexec.com reports that micro firms “represent a staggering 99.7percent of all the employer firms in the country.” That means more than half of all private-sector employees work for micro firms which pay “44 percent of the total private payroll in the county.”
A Small Business Administration (SBA) report in March 2010 showed that micro businesses created 64 percent of all net new U.S. jobs from 1993 to 2009.
For many micro-business owners, making their first foray into business can be a challenge. The Phoenix Public Market provides very low-cost opportunities to promote products, establish revenue, and expand micro-businesses. Along the way, they learn, perhaps make a few mistakes and grow in a low-risk environment. Today, 45 vendors who started at the Phoenix Public Market now have products that can be found in major grocery stores and restaurants throughout the Valley.
In May, the Market will celebrate the grand opening of a new restaurant by St. Francis owner Aaron Chamberlin in the space that formerly housed Urban Grocery. The restaurant is adjacent to the open air Market which supports over 100 micro businesses, many of whom will be selling products to the new restaurant.
Despite having to close the indoor Urban Grocery store last May, the open air Phoenix Public Market remains one of the Valley’s leading advocates for and tactical supporters of small business and has continued to grow and flourish.
Even with the setback and the financial challenges it generated, we were able to hold firm in our mission to create opportunities for small businesses that may not be able to open storefronts because of the cost.
Among the reasons we were able to maintain our focus and continue moving forward was the consistent and stalwart support from groups like the City of Phoenix and Bank of America. The City of Phoenix has been a large supporter from a capital standpoint in building out the open air Market parking lot. Bank of America was among the first to invest in the Phoenix Public Market with a three-year $25,000 grant and then stepped up with another $15,000 right after the grocery closed when we needed it most.
The impact of those efforts will be reflected long-term and locally. To date our micro businesses have sold over $7 million in local products. Their support and our ongoing ability to provide opportunities for small businesses will create jobs and generate revenue, taxes and consumer traffic that will, ultimately, contribute to a stronger, more vibrant community.
Those benefits pay dividends to all of us.
Dan Klocke is Vice President, Development, for the Downtown Phoenix Partnership (www.downtownphoenix.com). For information about the Phoenix Public Market, visit www.foodconnect.org.