Dayton given an ‘A’ from small businesses

The city of Dayton is rated the top business friendly metro city in Ohio, according to a survey of small business owners.

Small business owners gave Dayton an A- for its overall friendliness and tax code, according to the survey of 12,000 U.S. small businesses done by in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

“It’s a good environment for our firm, and we’ve had a lot of support from the community through the years,” Tom Thickel, president of architecture firm Levin Partners Associates, said about Dayton.

Nearly 80 percent of businesses in Dayton are considered small businesses, meaning they have fewer than 50 employees, according to Dayton Chamber of Commerce vice president Chris Kershner.

Downtown Dayton Partnership president Sandy Gudorf said small businesses help add to the job creation needed in Dayton.

“We’ve seen significant activity in small business growth in downtown. This is a great community for a small business,” Gudorf said.

Gina Jones, owner of Green Baby, an organic baby specialty store, said Dayton has opportunities she wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

“Having a pop-up shop isn’t something every city has,” Jones said. “There are special spots, in the Oregon District and Second Street Market, where business is booming.”

Dayton’s regulatory environment received C+ due to low grades for zoning and environmental regulations, the survey said. Small businesses said the city was the second most difficult in the country for obtaining health insurance, rating 81st out of 82 cities.

The business community plays a big part in helping small business thrive, Kershner said. “If you are a Dayton business, then Dayton businesses will support you,” Kershner said.

Cincinnati received a C+; Columbus a B and Cleveland a B-. The state of Ohio received an overall grade of C, according to the survey.

The top rated cities overall were Colorado Springs, Boise, Houston, Austin, and Louisville. The lowest rated were Sacramento, Providence, Buffalo, Bridgeport, and San Diego.

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