Indianapolis dodges bullet in small-biz study

July 15, 2011
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Those of us living in the industrial Midwest are accustomed to wincing before we crack open labor market studies.

But that wasn’t necessary for a new look at the smallest businesses in the nation’s 50 largest markets. Indianapolis, the only Indiana metro large enough to be lumped into Kiva and Visa's "Small Business Trouble Spots," didn't even come in for a mention. The study ranked changes in the number of businesses with fewer than 10 employees, and there was plenty of carnage all around Indianapolis.

Two Interstate 70 peers, Kansas City and Columbus, lost 2 percent of those smallest businesses between 2006 and 2008. (The recession started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.) Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Louisville, Milwaukee, Memphis and St. Louis all lost at least 1 percent of those businesses.

It wasn’t as if Indianapolis thrived during that stretch. The overall number of jobs barely held steady. But treading water was enough to make the area something of an island.

What’s your perception of Indianapolis as a place for small companies to do business? It’s long been considered particularly stable due to the presence of state government and its diversified economy. Indianapolis doesn’t experience big upsides, but neither does it suffer huge declines.

If you weren’t doing business here, where would you rather be?

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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