Following the mass consumptive orgy known as Black Friday, a modest promotional effort will take place tomorrow to encourage shopping at small businesses in Baltimore.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will visit five businesses, ranging from a sweets shop in Pigtown to a gifts and consignment store in Mount Washington, to “encourage people to avoid the hassles of big-box stores by shopping at unique locations in the city.”
Accompanied by residents and business leaders, Rawlings-Blake will visit
Art of Candy, at [see comment from Pigtown Main Street below] 782 Washington Blvd., at 2 p.m. as part of Small Business Saturday.
Other mayoral stops will include a barber shop on West Baltimore Street (Royal Razor) and a landscape design business on Belair Road (Week End CUTZ) before ending at 5 p.m. at Mount Washington’s La Chic Boutique, according to her official schedule.
Rawlings-Blake is not alone in her devotion to small businesses.
In a dueling press release today, Kevin Kamenetz, the Baltimore County executive, announced his support of Small Business Saturday – but with a different pitch that shoppers should visit “one of the outstanding small businesses in Baltimore County, located all around the Beltway.”
“Let’s make Small Business Saturday a rousing success,” Kamenetz declared.
Micro-Loans to Businesses
For Baltimore’s mayor, tomorrow’s tour will provide a platform to tout her new business initiative, a revolving micro-loan fund to support small, minority and women-owned businesses.
Earlier this week, the Board of Estimates approved $125,000 in general funds to capitalize the program, with a $250,000 supplemental grant expected to come from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.
Dubbed BaltimoreMICRO, the fund will offer $5,000-$30,000 loans to qualifying businesses for the acquisition of commercial property, rehabilitation of existing buildings, leasehold improvements, equipment purchases and “other costs associated with operating a small business.”
According to Rawlings-Blake, the goal is to “provide working capital to businesses to support the creation of full-time, high-quality, year-round employment opportunities and to stabilize existing employment opportunities in Baltimore.”
The micro-loan fund will be administered by the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), an agency that is used to handling much larger tax-relief programs, such as TIFs and PILOTs, for city developers.