Not too long ago, consulting firm Ramsey Solutions published a list of the 10 best cities for a small business. While explanations for the rankings included common considerations such as population, sales tax rates, unemployment rates, and average cost of housing, the winners’ descriptions also included other notable but less typical characteristics. Reading through the list, I recognized that many of these small business-friendly assets are also available in our small part of the country, and help support our local small businesses.
Ramsey placed San Francisco at No. 1, citing the city’s mild climate and a beautiful international landmark on the Golden Gate Bridge as two reasons. Humboldt County definitely has the weather (at least for those tired of hundred-degree summers and/or snowy winters) and our majestic thousand-year-old redwoods amaze visitors and longtime residents alike every day. .
Austin, Texas was renowned for its thriving arts and music scene, and while the recent Redwood Coast Music Festival was an exclusive once-a-year event, live music every day of the week is the norm here. many of our communities. And while we can also enjoy local art galleries, the growing inventory of public murals, painted toolboxes, sculptures and more in Eureka, Arcata and beyond means public art is easily accessible every day.
Minneapolis, Minnesota was cited as a hub for startups proud of its small businesses, including local breweries and food trucks. Sounds familiar? The Ramsey folks also suggested Minneapolis as the place to go if you have a creative idea, but as home to the founders of Wing Inflatables, Marimba One, Kokatat, Locally Delicious and more, locals already know we’ve got them beat. And like Seattle, Humboldt also embraces the local culture, often choosing to support local businesses over large corporations.
Nashville offers “lush scenery, rolling hills and friendly smiles,” says Ramsey. Check, check and double check and while Ramsey noted that Boston has plenty of eager college graduates, that has always been the case at Humboldt. Now, with the university’s conversion to Cal Poly, we’re going to have even more.
I must admit that before reading the list, I assumed that all communities benefit from strong small business development centers like ours. The North Shore SBDC often helps new and established businesses with free workshops, business advice and more, but those assets familiar to Humboldt helped put Portland, Oregon on the list.
Each city identified in Ramsey’s Top Ten “Best Small Business Cities” is home to 400,000 people or more and we don’t have that many countywide, but it’s clear that urban communities aren’t the only ones with the assets. to support budding entrepreneurs. Humboldt also offers additional quality-of-life benefits to attract and retain the creative and committed people small businesses need to thrive. We are rich in community festivals, farm-to-table produce at our local farmers markets and grocery stores, have more outdoor recreation opportunities than can be listed here, and enjoy close proximity to countless beaches, rivers, and breathtaking views. We are also home to the friendly people and more relaxed attitudes that make Humboldt a wonderful place to live.
It’s clear that Ramsey’s people just haven’t found us yet…
Lynette Mullen is a project manager and local historian. You can reach her at [email protected]