Our Opinion: Growing businesses of color good for Austin

Published 9:58 am Friday, November 1, 2013

Daily Herald editorial

Like any greater Minnesota city, much of Mower County’s local economy stems from its small businesses. While there are many local business owners in the area, we have noticed a rise in businesses catering to Austin’s communities of color. More entrepreneurs of color are stepping forward to start businesses catering not only to the general populace, but to new residents who may need to travel long distances to find goods and services they desire. We wholeheartedly support this trend, as more businesses means more local dollars, which is good for Austin’s growth.

We were not surprised when think-tank Minnesota 2020 released data last year showing newcomers and immigrants to Minnesota were responsible for as much as 40 percent of new business growth in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area and beyond. As more residents come to Austin, more businesses are springing up. Two Asian grocery markets have sprung up over the past few months, and Sako African Market and Food Supply has recovered from an unfortunate fire last December by moving into the Nemitz Building, where it recently re-opened.

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Small businesses are crucial to growth in any city, as the goods and services offered by local entrepreneurs often fill immediate needs that larger companies can’t always cover. With Austin set to grow by leaps and bounds due to the Vision 2020 community improvement initiative, it’s no small wonder Vision 2020 organizers have dedicated at least two of its groups — the Downtown Austin and Business Friendly Environment committees — to pursuing ways to improve Austin’s business climate.

Homegrown businesses like the ones that are sprouting up to serve our Latino, Asian, Sudanese, Liberian, Eastern European and other populations are a welcome gift to a city getting ready to expand. It’s good to see more business owners in town, and it’s great to see all of Austin’s residents served by local businesses.