News / USA

Small Businesses Offer Taste of Economic Growth

Peter Fedynsky

A flurry of upbeat reports show a U.S. economy recovering from the worst recession in decades and headed for expansion.

But this week's improved figures for housing, jobs, rising stock prices and modest inflation, represent a few measurements of growth.

At a small business in Jersey City, New Jersey, Felicia Grasso is hoping to contribute to the growth in her own unique way.

Since opening her cupcake store, Sophie Sophia, two months ago, she says treats she bakes bring cheer and represent an inexpensive symbol of better times.

"It’s something tangible right now," she says. "[For] people that have fallen on hard times, the cupcakes are not very expensive."

Grasso's shop, with two employees, is just one of 14 retailers on the ground floor of Hamilton Square, a new apartment building that developer Paul Silverman says is directly responsible for 150 jobs, and indirectly responsible for hundreds more.

"FedEx delivers to the property, UPS is delivering; the service companies -- the window washer that’s there every day, the air conditioner repair people, the doormen that are in the building," he says, adding that he secured a loan to develop Hamilton Square before the 2008 financial crisis.

Otherwise, he explains, the ensuing credit crunch would have blocked the project. But he says banks seem ready to lend again.  

"I wouldn’t say it’s back to the 2005-2006 levels of interest, but we have banks calling us now, which is a great thing," he says.

Nonetheless, Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at the Standard and Poor’s market research firm, says banks are cautious.

"I think the concern though is still that banks are only calling up those people whose credit quality is pristine," says Stovall.

Business owners are borrowing carefully, he says, noting continued concerns about high U.S. unemployment and economic uncertainty overseas. But, he adds, consumers are tired of holding back.

"They’re tired of denying themselves going out and spending, and they spent going into the holidays and, at least so far, are continuing to do that," he says.

But even for those consumers who remain extra cautious, seeking only a small reward, proprietors like Grasso are well positioned to deliver.

"You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get that feeling, and it’s right away, it’s gratification, it’s your favorite flavor," says Grasso. "You’re having a bad day and you come in and, ‘oh, she has lemon today -- that brightens up my day.' "

U.S. employment and retail sales improved slightly in January, an uptick in which Felicia Grasso’s cupcakes played a small -- and customers might say tasty -- role.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid