Main Street is home to women entrepreneurs. Take a look around our downtowns and you will see women are running businesses – many of which create a sense of vibrancy to a transforming area. Women-owned businesses make up 36% of the businesses in the US and 99% of these are considered small businesses. Main street can offer a sense of community for new small businesses. These businesses are often retail, service and customer experience oriented. Nancy Pearson, NH director of the Center for Women & Enterprise believes that investing in the economic power of women drives growth for families and local markets but also for the community.
Participants of our Main Street Academy have been exploring downtown vibrancy and economic vitality and it is hard not to see that women-owned businesses are part of the story.
On a tour of Rochester, we heard from Stacy Marchionni, of Revolution Taproom and Grill and the chair of the Riverwalk Committee. Stacy made an early commitment to the revitalization of downtown by opening her restaurant. She added outdoor seating in a partnership with the city to accommodate her customers, increase her bottom line and to bring life to the street.
Alison Murphy of Concord Handmade has opened her pop-up shop on Main Street in Concord for the past eight years. She sells artisan goods during the holiday season. She has seen her business grow while the downtown has been redeveloped. She has a loyal following that look for her each year as she moves locations. Popping up in a new location gives customers and opportunity to explore different blocks of the downtown and adds activity to a vacant space.
Kathy Eaton, along with her husband, owns the Wolfeboro Trolley Company. Kathy gave a downtown tour to Main Street Academy participants and shared stories of recent economic development. Kathy not only owns and drives Molly the Trolley, she serves on the town economic development committee. She highlighted recent investments and efforts to retain existing businesses.
These are just a few examples of women starting and building businesses in New Hampshire’s downtowns. In addition to the business investment, they are leading the way to bringing vibrancy to main street – which is good for business and the community.
Some resources for women entrepreneurs:
More reading and data:
- Get the Facts on Women Business Owners
- Women’s Business Ownership: Data from the 2012 Survey of Business Owner