The Small Business Spotlight Program
Bank of America announced the four New York City-based women and/or minority-owned business beneficiaries of this year’s Bank of America Small Business Spotlight program at the iconic Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. These businesses will be able to exhibit and sell their products at rent-free booths for over two weeks. This provides businesses with valuable exposure to new customers. The Winter Village Holiday shops are one of the top shopping and tourist destinations. This offers local small business entrepreneurs the opportunity to reach new customers. Bank of America will cover shop rent and coordinate the basic build-out of the shop.
Last year, approximately 173 holiday shops, including four Small Business Spotlight vendors, generated about $34 million in seasonal sales.
Commitment to small businesses
“Small businesses are an integral part of the city’s economy and the lifeblood of our communities. Bank of America is committed to supporting New York City’s small businesses. Their growth and success help New Yorkers and local communities thrive,” said José Tavarez, president of Bank of America New York City. “We look forward to continuing to support business owners with free access to the Small Business Spotlight booth space. This year’s small business entrepreneurs join 17 other New York City-based minority-owned small business owners. Those in the network have benefitted from this program since we launched it in 2020.”
The four featured Small Business Spotlight businesses:
- HappiHello (Manhattan): This Manhattan-based, Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned stationery company creates specialty handmade greeting cards for all occasions. Founder Eileen Ann’s creations blend paper craftsmanship with playful watercolor illustrations. Each card is illustrated, printed, and hand-detailed in New York City. Visit HappiHello from Oct. 27 – Nov. 12.
- Stories of a Colorful World (Brooklyn): Stories of a Colorful World is working to create a future where children have access to stories as colorful as the world around them. This is done by increasing the representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color on children’s bookshelves. Stories of a Colorful World was co-founded by Kanika Mobley and Vanessa Mitchell. This Brooklyn-based Black-owned online children’s bookstore carries books featuring representations of diverse main characters penned by authors from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Visit Stories of a Colorful World from Nov. 13 – Nov. 29.
- Louise Goods (Bronx): Owner & Creative Director Beck Forney designs and creates handcrafted, leather accessories including bags, wallets and belts. This Bronx-based, Hispanic-Latino- and LGBTQ+-owned business hand-stitches all leather goods for strong, long-lasting products. Visit Louise Goods from Nov. 30 – Dec. 16.
- Copper Colored Gal Designs (Brooklyn): Designer Alejandra Remijio is dedicated to crafting unique and artisanal pieces for your home. These one-of-kind and limited-edition linen designs demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. Textiles are sourced from within the U.S., using natural fibers. All handcrafted products are made in small, thoughtfully curated batches that minimize waste. Visit Copper Colored Gal Designs from Dec. 17 – Jan. 2.
Challenges faced by NYC’s small business entrepreneurs
New York City’s small businesses continue to navigate a challenging business landscape that disproportionately affects women and minority-owned businesses. According to Bank of America’s 2023 Women and Minority Business Owner Spotlight, 31 percent of women business owners said they do not think they will ever have equal access to capital to start a business; 35 percent of Black business owners, 20 percent of Hispanic-Latino business owners and 20 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islander business owners said the same.
Success stories of small business entrepreneurs
“Being selected for the Bank of America Small Business Spotlight program in 2022 allowed me to learn firsthand what it would be like to manage my own brick-and-mortar business,” said Courtney Wiggins, Founder of The Winsome Apothecary, former Small Business Spotlight vendor. “I had to quickly adapt and learn how to manage, operate, and maintain my space. In addition to learning how to trust my instincts, product placement and inventory, and proper marketing, I met customers from all around the world. I now have customers from Ireland, Wales, France, and parts of the United States that would have taken me longer to reach without this experience. The guidance, support, and encouragement I received from Bank of America, Bryant Park, and Urbanspace staff extended far beyond my time at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park.”
Another former Small Business Spotlight vendor, Putrice Thomas, Artist and founder, of Cocoa Puzzles, said, “Participating in the Bank of America Small Business Spotlight program in 2022 was an incredible journey. It provided us with the unique opportunity to introduce our puzzles to a global audience visiting New York City, fostering valuable connections that have significantly contributed to our business’s growth.”
A returning business of the Small Business Spotlight program
Kalsang Chomphel, Founder of Kalsang Pottery, a returning business to the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Holiday Shops and former Small Business Spotlight vendor, said, “The opportunity Bank of America’s Small Business Spotlight gave us has been crucial in finding our place within New York City’s marketplace for business. Small Business Spotlight not only allowed us to present our business to the market, but it opened up new avenues to gain clients, build connections, and increase our confidence to grow as a business.”
Empowering small business entrepreneurs
Designed to empower business owners by addressing the many inequities and barriers to success – such as access to capital and resources – that minority-owned businesses often face, the Small Business Spotlight will help drive economic growth and opportunity for these local entrepreneurs.
Winter Village season and Small Business Spotlight program dates
In its 11th season and after a decade-long partnership with Bryant Park, the iconic Winter Village is now open. The Small Business Spotlight program runs from Oct 27, 2023, to Jan 2, 2024, in sync with the Holiday Shops calendar. Shops will be open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The booth is located near the 41st Street and 6th Avenue entrance to Bryant Park, near the fountain.
About Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions. Serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations. Bank of America has a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States. Serving approximately 69 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 3,900 retail financial centers, approximately 15,000 ATMs and award-winning digital banking with approximately 57 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 4 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries.
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