Tuesday, April 04, 2017

"Main Street"

I like the image at the top of this article, depicting an idealized small town "main street" which barely exists outside of resort towns in this country. The article is about small businesses. That term when used does invoke images of "mom and pop" shops, though what "small business" means from the perspective of the government and data collection doesn't have much to do with that. What qualifies as a "small business" depends on your industry classification, but quite often it's any business with fewer than 500 employees. Hardly small, and mostly not "mom and pop" shops.

I'm not saying that for purposes of official classification and data collection that's wrong, just that how that gets played into narratives about "small businesses" in the press which feature cute pictures of "main streets" is somewhat deceptive. Small businesses probably aren't what you think they are when you're hearing about them on NPR.