Entrepreneurs looking to set up shop in Globe or hobbyists who may want to turn their passion into a brick-and-mortar business can get plenty of help from a number of sources in Globe-Miami.
While the City of Globe handles the technical aspects, such as site selection, business applications and the Planning and Zoning process, would-be businesspeople aren’t alone, as there are several organizations dedicated to helping at any point in the process, from writing a business plan to acquiring loans and grants.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) works with the City’s Economic and Community Development Department (ECD) to encourage and help potential business owners, and the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) can help with funding for individuals who have fully developed business plans.
The SBDC has an office located at the Eastern Arizona College (EAC) Gila Pueblo campus in Globe and is part of a national and statewide network of small business assistance providers, with 26 offices in Arizona and 1,100 nationwide. The local SBDC is funded in part by EAC and also a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Services provided by the SBDC include free counseling for entrepreneurs to answer questions about starting or operating a business; it also provides marketing help and social media guidance, as well as financial education and cash flow analysis. The organization has a veterans assistance program and also works with the SBA and the local Chamber of Commerce as well as the Arizona Procurement and Technical Assistance Center, which helps businesses that may want to procure government contracts.
The EAC SBDC serves Graham, Greenlee and Gila Counties, but the Globe office is relatively new, as the program previously operated out of the Thatcher campus of EAC.
The local point of contact is Globe native and small business owner Sarah Alexander, whose professional life has taken a fairly circuitous route to get her to her current position.
“A big part of my job is just getting the information out that we exist,” she says. “A lot of people don’t have any idea that there is an SBDC or how we can help.”
A Globe High School alum, Alexander spent a good portion of her career in education, teaching at various levels from fourth grade to college in Tucson, at Arizona State University and finally in Miami, where she taught for nine years at Miami High School.
Alexander and her business partner, Erika “Moqui” Flores, recently celebrated the second anniversary of their downtown Globe business, Pretty Kind Boutique on Broad Street.
The combination of ownership and teaching gives Alexander a unique perspective and tools that can benefit potential business owners.
The City and the SBDC have been working together to streamline the process for business incubation and expansion as the economic climate changes, particularly in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
“My main goal in Globe and main purpose so far has been formalizing the paperwork part of it, because there’s not really a one-stop shop here,” she says.
In addition to helping people start businesses, Alexander also advises those already in business on aspects such as creating a business plan that includes an exit strategy for business partners. She can also help with applications for funding in the form of grants and small business loans, which often require three-year projections to qualify.
Loans can come from a variety of sources, from the SBA to private microlenders, but one of the main local sources of business loans is the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation, an organization “dedicated to the economic diversification and enhanced quality-of-life of Southern Gila County.”
The EDC administers loan funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revolving loan program and for more than a decade has provided funding for some of Globe’s most high-profile businesses.
Globe native Bryan Seppala, who works for Resolution Copper and served for a decade on the EDC board, was on hand for some of that organization’s signature achievements.
“What’s cool is that every single loan we did, with the exception of one, the business is still open,” he says. “During my time on the board, we approved loans for Hollis Cinema, the Copper Hen, Bloom and Waggin’ Vineyard.”
Seppala, whose job has taken him to Florence with his wife and three children, worked closely with the City and, much like the SBDC, spent a significant amount of time just getting the word out that the resource for business owners exists.
“Since the City of Globe established the Economic and Community Development Department, we saw a huge difference,” he says. “We saw a great improvement in communication and the alignment between the City, local businesses and the EDC. It’s a great resource that gave us a little bit more firepower, and I think it gave local businesses more trust in us knowing that we had the support of the City.”
One of the early loan recipients was Globe’s Vice-Mayor Mike Stapleton, who was inspired to run for council after he retired from a career at Motorola and moved to Globe.
Stapleton invested his life savings into the Copper Hen Bakery & Cafe, but when he wanted to expand, found he needed a little bit of financial help that the EDC was there to provide.
“I was able to use that money to purchase tables and chairs and other things to complete the restaurant and open for business ,” he says. “So it was very helpful. They’re approachable, and it was a pleasure to do business with them.”
Since he was elected to City Council and is a recognizable business owner, Stapleton says he fields a lot of questions from the public about starting a business in Globe.
At the time Stapleton was setting up his business, though, he says the City’s process was unclear in a lot of respects, and the City didn’t have dedicated staff focused on economic development.
But because there is stability in the administrative structure now—Stapleton says there were several city managers in the years leading up to the arrival of Paul Jepson—Globe is working to streamline the development process.
“We’ve been working to be sure the council and the City are on the same page, and we’ve created a one-stop shop for development, so when you do want to open a business, you can get answers,” he says.
Stapleton says the City is focused on streamlining a process that includes the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee to bring everything into alignment, from a business’s storefront facade to signage to color schemes on the building.
He added that the establishment of the ECD and the City’s recent growth in development staff have helped by providing a clearinghouse of information and sufficient staff to execute changes to the way the City does business.
Next month, the ECD, in collaboration with the SBDC and the Globe-Miami Chamber, will be hosting a six-part seminar called “Launch Your Business in 2023” for potential small business owners.
The series will feature presentations on different aspects of setting up a business and will take place beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 11, with a final graduation ceremony to take place at the Chamber on Feb. 15.
Attendance will be capped at 15 people, and details will be coming soon.
Alexander says while the prospect of starting a small business may be daunting, the rewards can be satisfying for those who see it through.
“Most people assume that everybody who owns a business knows what they’re doing, so I start by saying, ‘I still don’t know everything I probably should know, so we’re just going to start from the beginning,’” she says. “The best part to me about having my own business, specifically in Historic Downtown Globe, is just the pride of ownership, being part of history and being part of, in my opinion, the best community in the world.”
The EAC Small Business Development Center can be reached at (928) 428-8590 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City’s Economic Development Department can be reached at (928) 425-7146 ext. 210 or by email at email@example.com.
Journalist, writer and editor who has worked for community newspapers for more than 15 years. After four years at Davis-Monthan AFB and a few years living in Tucson, moved to California to find his fortune. He is happy to be back in Arizona, in the mountains he loves.