July 16, 2011

Protecting A Successful Marketplace

The Craft Entrepreneur stopped by the Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring, Md., today and discovered the vibrant showcase for handmade goods was being threatened by plans to raise the fee the Market is charged for using its space in downtown Silver Spring.

Here is Hannah McCann, founder and president of FSM wrote on her blog about the battle to keep the Market alive:

"The Fenton Street Market has activated a formerly empty expanse of concrete in our downtown with a vibrant, community-based enterprise that stimulates the local economy (read the results of our 2011 economic impact study showing we bring more than $1.9M a year to downtown Silver Spring). And yet, it has been suggested to me by the county personnel charged with contracting the space that the community might benefit more from the Plaza being used as a putt-putt golf course next summer. I just want to make sure you read that: a putt-putt golf course on the Plaza next year. Most aggravating to me, I’m being asked by some who have done the basic math on our business–60 vendors a week x $40 a booth space x 30 weeks a year–why we can’t afford $35,000 or more a year in rent."

With the recession in full swing and a lot of businesses suffering under the weight of not being able to access small business loans, crafters need the support of the community more than ever including the local government. Crafters who have a boisterous business, ultimately hire help to keep their product lines flowing. That hiring helps keep the economy moving forward.

President Barack Obama in his Startup America initiative said in January that "Entrepreneurs embody the promise of America: the idea that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country. And in fulfilling this promise, entrepreneurs also play a critical role in expanding our economy and creating jobs."

So the Craft Entrepreneur wonders why the Montgomery County government, Council and County Executive would go against the basic mission of the federal government to give entrepreneurs every chance possible.

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