Small business in Atlanta is becoming an influential segment of the Georgia’s economy

27 Nov 2023

Atlanta is one of several Southeast economies that appears to be thriving from a small business perspective, even in the midst of mass layoffs, inflation, and previous national concerns about a possible recession.

Over the past few years, the city witnessed a noticeable increase in the number of private small and medium-sized enterprises. And this contributed to the development of small business, which has evolved into an independent influential sector that makes up a significant part of the overall economy.

Liz Wilke, principal economist at Gusto, a producer of payroll and benefit-management software that helps small and mid-sized businesses operate their ventures, said that Atlanta joins the ranks of Nashville, Charlotte, Jacksonville and a handful of other steadily-growing cities in showing signs of firmness that could lead to increased financial prosperity in the future.

“Other regions have seen a little bit of cooling, mostly driven by lower hiring, but also an uptick in dismissals,” Wilke said. “But we really have not seen that in the Southeastern region.”

Entrepreneurship gives workers a chance to do away with the aspects of the conventional corporate workplace that have proved unpopular among many demographics of employees, which has manifested into attempted four-day work weeks and increased opportunities for hybrid and remote working. With small businesses, employers are able to create a more flexible and personable work environment that makes it easier to value employees, and, as a byproduct, yields stronger retention rates among workers.

While small businesses have historically served as the backbone of America’s economy, they have progressed to have a much larger impact on the economy as a whole. It’s the small business sectors within mid-sized markets that have witnessed some of the most impressive growth over the years, fulfilling a need for additional jobs in local economies and helping change the definition of success for workers in the country.

“Small businesses are really becoming, as a segment of the economy, like powerhouses in their own right in much bigger ways than they were,” Wilke said. “It’s just been a really exciting time to think about the transformation of entrepreneurship.”

Here are just a very few of the businesses that make up the long list of small businesses in Atlanta:

Capella Cheese

Conceptualized by the renowned Raymond Hook of Star Provisions, this expansive 3,500-square-foot cheese emporium in Armour Yards boasts an impressive selection of 250 cheeses from around the globe. Its custom cheese case and three climate-controlled rooms ensure that every slice, wheel, and wedge, sourced from the world’s top cheesemakers, is showcased in its finest form.

Sid Mashburn

Sharp suits and second-to-none styling.

Sid Mashburn isn’t just Atlanta’s fashion kingpin anymore—he’s considered now a nationwide style guru. His Westside gem is a sartorial wonderland where you can overhaul your wardrobe in one go. It’s all about precision tailoring in a workshop. You can linger over a game of ping-pong there and that’ll make you want to stay well beyond the final fitting.

Virginia Highland Books

Virginia Highland Books is Atlanta’s bibliophilic nook, where classics cozy up to the latest page-turners. Barely two years old, but already wise like an old sage, the shop beats in effortless sync with Atlanta’s eclectic heart. Descend the storied author stairs to a literary den below, where every step is a nod to the greats of writing.

The Victorian

Leafy new friends (and everything you need to care for them)

The Victorian Atlanta sprouts across the city as a hideaway for plant lovers, curated by Georgia State alums Cary Smith and Libby Hockenberry. Launching within Ponce City Market in 2017, they’ve since rooted their rare botanicals in East Atlanta Village, brewing symbiosis with Bellwood Coffee. Now, perched above their leafy kingdom at the Old Fourth Ward outpost, Burle’s Bar blossoms—a cocktail oasis floating over a jungle of greenery. With plans to pepper the air with culinary creations from local chefs, The Victorian is Atlanta’s multi-level escape into botany and beyond.

Just Add Honey Tea Company

Tea blends to perk up or chill out

Just Add Honey Tea Company is a sweet spot along the BeltLine where tea zeal meets a zen retreat. Born from a thirst for the ultimate cup, this boutique brew-hub dishes out sophisticated yet playful infusions. With an upgraded space behind Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall, this tea shop pairs local pastries with an encyclopedic array of 40 loose-leaf teas. From earthy Chinese pu’erh to signature Georgia peach black teas and green blends kissed with yerba mate, lemongrass, and lavender—every selection invites a journey of the senses.

Little’s Food Store

Lunch and local pantry products all under one roof

Little’s Food Store stands as Atlanta’s authentic slice of bodega life, flipping burgers, grilling dogs, and fulfilling grocery needs since 1929. Nestled in the evolving landscape of Cabbagetown, once a gritty mill town, this grocer and deli has witnessed the transformation from industrial grit to upscale urbanity. Owners Brad and Nina Cunard, Cabbagetown residents pre-BeltLine boom, serve up history with every bite or grocery run, with everything from local beer to specialty chips and toothpaste available for purchase. They demand of newcomers the same respect as old-timers, ensuring Little’s remains a place where community trumps change and a well-mannered hello is currency.

Spotted Trotter

Charcuterie straight from the source

Founded in 2009, The Spotted Trotter, nestled on the cusp of Reynoldstown and Edgewood, is Atlanta’s charcuterie champion. Chef Kevin Ouzts, a Le Cordon Bleu grad with stints at The Fatted Calf and The French Laundry, crafts a celebration of the Southeast’s flavors. Sourcing sustainably and locally, this butcher shop dazzles with a medley of meats, cheeses, and unique dry goods. From Southern-inspired salami to handcrafted sausages and pâtés, every bite echoes Ouzts’ commitment to “Making Good Food The Right Way.”

Beautiful Briny Sea

Flavored finishing salt that makes a unique host gift

Beautiful Briny Sea crafts culinary dainties in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, where Suzi Sheffield, a restaurateur turned salt sorceress, conjures small-batch blends from the sea. Born of a 2011 quest for adventure and a zest for kitchen creativity, her creations—infused with sustainability and heart—now span a dozen delicious salts and beyond.

ATL Mobile Bike Repair/Maintenance.

The ATL repair shop comprehensive services include:

Multi-Tiered Tune Ups that elevate your ride with the multi-tiered tune-ups, featuring meticulous care and refreshing bike washes.

Custom Builds tailor your bike to perfection with the personalized custom builds, reflecting your style and preferences.

Precise Bicycle Assembly. The skilled technicians ensure flawless bicycle assembly for an impeccable ride.

Vintage Restorations breathe new life into cherished classics with the vintage restorations, preserving history while embracing modernity.


By Alex Arlander | ENC News




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