What If Small Businesses Could Stay Open in Miami?
February 15, 2017
Just close your eyes and picture it. Small businesses, local restaurants, mixed-use spaces filled with the work of passionate artisans; our streets a vibrant collection of entrepreneurial efforts that are at once supported by their fellow locals and by the city that houses them. We know that it exists because that’s what we love most about cities like Portland, Austin, and even Brooklyn, and one of the reasons we escape there on the regular–to connect. But that’s not the case for Miami.
Here’s the thing. We need to have the big names in order to drive traffic to any area, but it’s the small businesses that really tell the story of what a place is, where it came from, and what it can become. What are we telling the world if big companies can open smoothly yet the common tale is that local makers find a feasible place, only to immediately close before opening because their funds have bled dry during the process? So here’s our first step in shedding light on the situation and actually doing something about it: Support Local Florida.
Over the past few years, we’ve had the chance to work alongside hundreds of local and small businesses and hear their stories to better understand their passions. The greatest connecting factor? How difficult it is to make the leap into opening a brick & mortar. Of course, obvious factors like money play a big role in the hesitation, but more importantly, opening your own establishment in this city is like learning a new language. Permits, codes, zoning, inspections, paying rent for months while a storefront remains unbuilt–it just seems like things work against the little guys, and that’s all before opening. If things were different, businesses would be inspired not just to open but to build in Miami, and that would make all the difference.
On February 15th (today!), with the launch of its very own website and collective platform, Support Local Florida will connect natives and curious travelers to the small businesses that call Miami and its surrounding areas home. In an effort to inform consumers on the impact of their dollar, the entire initiative will have a curated business directory that features everything from restaurants and cultural organizations, to creative agencies and educational outlets.
It’s part list part impact, and all for you. With local favorites like The Wynwood Yard, The Anderson Bar, 27 Restaurant, Sweat Records, The LAB Miami, MADE at The Citadel, The Tower Theater, and even The New Tropic, Support Local’s gathering of small businesses spans the entire city and will continue to grow over time. Each of these businesses will be offering a special perk as an incentive to shop small. All you have to do is head to any Support Local-certified establishment, name drop “Support Local” and you can unlock things like secret dishes, BOGO discounts, themed menu items, complimentary designs, and more. You’ll be able to make the most of your dollar, actually know where it’s going to, and who it’s benefitting.
For too long, this city has remained unquestioning of the influx of large companies and investment endeavors without making room for the little guys. More than an “in-the-know” program, we want Support Local to be a microphone for these businesses and affect real growth. We hope you follow us and help support change in Miami, Florida, and beyond. So, the next time you’re hankering for a fresh cup of coffee, opt out of the convenient chain down the street and make the extra effort in supporting a locally-certified café, you know they’ve been making efforts all over the place. It’s about time the city should too.
There are tons of ways you can support the project: snagging a sweet pin at any of our events, to perusing the Support Local kiosk at Wynwood’s Brothers & Brawlers (coming soon), oogling at the Support Local mural at MADE at The Citadel. But first, check out the full list of Support Local businesses here, and start discovering how easy it is to support!