When we talk to people about gentrification throughout New York state, we are constantly asked about small businesses. Two of the more common questions we get involve explaining how gentrification destroys small businesses, and why small businesses are so important to their communities. If current trends are not stopped, then small business in New York state could be in big trouble, and we feel it is important that residents understand how and why small businesses are so important to their communities.
Why Is Gentrification a Threat to Small Businesses?
Gentrification occurs when a government wants to increase property values by attracting wealthy tenants. In some cases, those tenants are large corporations that require prime property in areas where small businesses currently thrive. If a government decides to approve a project that would put a big-box retail store in an area where small businesses are currently located, then those small businesses are forced out of the area.
A small business that relocates is torn from the community where it has built its success, and it is also saddled with the tremendous costs of trying to relocate. Many small businesses do not survive relocation due to gentrification, and that is how gentrification destroys small businesses.
Small Businesses and Your Community
In any part of New York, small businesses hire more workers than large corporations. While the factories and office complexes that house large businesses are impressive, they are usually surrounded by small businesses that hire significantly more workers. When those small businesses are destroyed, the jobs are lost. Not only does the community lose many of its employment options, but workers are forced to take whatever wages the large corporations want to pay.
A small business grows with its community and gets involved in the success of each community member. When a crisis occurs in a community, the small businesses in the area are usually the first to respond with assistance. When gentrification destroys small businesses, communities lose their anchor citizens and they lose out on the many ways in which a small business makes a community a better place to live.
Keep Your Community Strong by Supporting Small Businesses
A strong and growing small business offers employment to community members at living wages. Workers at a small business have a direct influence on the success of their company, and they can also voice their opinions to management in ways that affect the entire business. If you want to keep your community strong, then you need to support the small businesses that are working to make your community a better place.