Small businesses call for lawmakers' attention alongside Amazon proposal

- With Minnesota's interest in Amazon, some of the small businesses in the state are getting together, raising their hand, and asking for the same interest in them, noting they have as much to offer if not more.

Like many small business owners, Dan Marshall of Mischief Toys just wants to thrive and give back to the community he has come to love. But that can be hard when so much attention is given to giant retailers like Amazon.

“I think all small businesses want a level playing field with the giant corporations like Amazon and we want government at all levels to consider what they can do to help small businesses establish themselves, to grow and survive and continue to hire thousands of employees,” said Marshall.

With Amazon putting in a request for a proposal (RFP) and Minnesota responding, small businesses are putting in their own request to the governor and other state leaders. They are expressing needs which include access to affordable health care, childcare, support for higher education and more.

“We want to see the same level of energy, and actually more energy that goes into responding to an RFP that Amazon puts out, to one that comes from people like us, small business owners, from across the state who are creating jobs who know our neighbors and are vital parts of our communities,” said Danny Schwartzmann, the owner of Common Roots Café.

“Some of the ways that we believe our government could help us is one by communicating with us more proactively about the programs that are there to support us,” said Julie Kearns of Junket: Tossed and Found.

Whether Amazon actually locates its headquarters here or not, the message is that Minnesota's small businesses don't want to be squeezed out by any giant retailer that might come Minnesota’s way.

“Small businesses are the fundamental economic driver of our economy and it seems that very little attention is paid to what they actually need, said Marshall.

The state's proposal to Amazon is due no later than Thursday. 

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