Skip to main content
Kevin L. Maevers, AICP
President; Arivitas Strategies, LLC
Asked a question 9 months ago

With all of the dramatic changes going on in the professional, retail, and service industries, isn't it time that we took a long, hard look at what constitutes a home business, and how local economies can benefit from an active and vibrant micro-business community? I guess my real questions is, why shouldn't every home in your community have the opportunity to contribute to the overall economic health of the neighborhood and town? The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in many communities, but the cost of entry is exorbitant for many traditional businesses, which serves to restrict the number and types of new businesses and jobs a community can create. Technology and training have allowed so many people to become independent job creators (either part-time or full time) by opening up small-town USA to the global marketplace. But that same technology allows the microprenuer to reach out to the local community and offer goods and services that will keep the money circulating in the community, and the profits will be put right back into the home, family, and neighborhood. If we're going to build Strong Towns, shouldn't we begin by creating the opportunity for Strong Families, Strong Homes, and Strong Neighborhoods?

Where am I?

In Strong Towns you can ask and answer questions and share your experience with others!

With all of the dramatic changes going on in the professional, retail, and service industries, isn't it time that we took a long, hard look at what constitutes a home business, and how local economies can benefit from an active and vibrant micro-business community?  I guess my real questions is, why shouldn't every home in your community have the opportunity to contribute to the overall economic health of the neighborhood and town?  The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in many communities, but the cost of entry is exorbitant for many traditional businesses, which serves to restrict the number and types of new businesses and jobs a community can create.  Technology and training have allowed so many people to become independent job creators (either part-time or full time) by opening up small-town USA to the global marketplace.  But that same technology allows the microprenuer to reach out to the local community and offer goods and services that will keep the money circulating in the community, and the profits will be put right back into the home, family, and neighborhood.  If we're going to build Strong Towns, shouldn't we begin by creating the opportunity for Strong Families, Strong Homes, and Strong Neighborhoods?

Kevin, i'm not entirely sure what you mean by micro-business. One idea that seems feasible in my neighborhood structure would be to have a commercial hub (which we do) that contains many spaces where start-ups and home type businesses could thrive instead of actually having them in your home and having to deal with zoning, etc. This would mean cheap rent ($100-$200 a month) and the ability to test their ideas for relatively inexpensively. Ideally these would be tiny stand alone buildings with a central space. 

I agree with your overall premise, Strong Families, Strong Homes and Strong Neighborhoods create Strong Towns! 

With all of the dramatic changes going on in the professional, retail, and service industries, isn't it time that we took a long, hard look at what constitutes a home business, and how local economies can benefit from an active and vibrant micro-business community?  I guess my real questions is, why shouldn't every home in your community have the opportunity to contribute to the overall economic health of the neighborhood and town?  The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in many communities, but the cost of entry is exorbitant for many traditional businesses, which serves to restrict the number and types of new businesses and jobs a community can create.  Technology and training have allowed so many people to become independent job creators (either part-time or full time) by opening up small-town USA to the global marketplace.  But that same technology allows the microprenuer to reach out to the local community and offer goods and services that will keep the money circulating in the community, and the profits will be put right back into the home, family, and neighborhood.  If we're going to build Strong Towns, shouldn't we begin by creating the opportunity for Strong Families, Strong Homes, and Strong Neighborhoods?

This reminds me of a book I'm reading about the history of general stores in North America. The first real stores were "shops-in-the-house," where storekeepers set up shop in a room in their dwelling house. I love this low-lift way for entrepreneurs to build wealth serving their community while taking on little overhead. 

Like you, Kevin, I wish more homeowners had this opportunity in their neighborhoods. Imagine  all the product and services we could have without leaving our neighborhoods: coffee, haircuts—the list goes on and on!