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California receives poor marks in small business friendliness

California receives poor marks in small business friendliness

Elizabeth and Emerson Newton browse through clothing items at Vintage Market’s annual sidewalk sale.


POSTED August 15, 2014 5:27 p.m.

As students prepare to return to school it appears that the state of California is getting its report card early and the outlook is bleak.  

According to a study performed in partnership between the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and professional services directory Thumbtack, the state of California was given an “F” regarding its “Overall Friendliness” for small business owners looking to do business in the state. Compared to the 37 other states participating in the study, California was ranked as the third worst behind Illinois and Rhode Island.

"After a two month survey of thousands of small business owners nationwide, California's small businesses have rated it near the bottom as one of the least friendly states in the nation towards small business," said Thumbtack Chief Economist John Lieber. "Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, and California continues to receive low marks from its small businesses for creating this kind of environment."

Almost 2,000 California small business owners participated in the survey that asked participants to rank a multitude of business aspects such as number and rigidity of regulations, availability of training, and overall perception of business friendliness.

Along with Overall Small Business Friendliness, California also received an "F" in the categories of Employment, Labor, and Hiring; Health and Safety; Ease of Starting a Business; General Business Regulations; and Environmental Regulations. While the state did receive a “C-“ in Training and Networking Problems, the state’s overall grade of “F” illustrates a decline from the previous year’s Overall Small Business Friendliness that earned a “D”. However, according to Lieber, that could be indicative of a change nationally as each year’s marks are compiled relative to the national standard.

Lieber also noted that Stanislaus County had a low turnout for survey participants as only six business owners filled out the survey, two of which were from Turlock and included an event production company and a pet care store.

“While the response from Turlock businesses was rather positive, the overall response from Stanislaus County participants was worse than the California average overall comparatively. With such a small turnout it can be difficult to draw conclusions,” explained Lieber.

While two businesses in town may be pleased with the ease of small business operations not all local owners agree. Lori Crivelli of the downtown store Crivelli’s Shirts and More said that the ‘red tape’ can be frustrating for business owners.

“There are a lot of regulations. It makes it very expensive and the whole process takes longer than it should,” said Crivelli, whose family business of seven years has been at its current Main Street location for the past five.

However, local shop owners are not at a total loss as they have established savvy techniques to generate sales and promote local business evident by the sidewalk sales adorning the downtown streets of Turlock on Friday afternoon. While Crivelli’s pushed product onto the streets to clear space for new seasonal items, just down the street, Vintage Market also hosted its annual sidewalk sale that increases foot traffic through the shop.

Contrary to Crivelli’s approach, Vintage Market has a collaborative business model as the store front plays host to 20 vendors selling their diverse and unique wares. This business model allows the co-owners to equally bear the burden that opening and running a business entails.

“Honestly, it was pretty easy opening the store. We’ve grown from about eight to 20 vendors in the just under five years we’ve been here,” said Kim Jonson, founding partner of Vintage Market. “It went very smoothly.”

 

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