Celebrating Small Business Month

Main Street small businesses call for paid leave, share their values

Main Street Alliance small businesses celebrated National Small Business Week (May 5-11) by calling for paid leave policies in states and nationally. Tony Sandkamp, Owner of Sandkamp Woodworks in New Jersey, traveled to D.C. to testify in the House Committee on Ways and Means in support of the FAMILY Act on Wednesday, May 8. This historic hearing is the first time the House of Representatives has dedicated a full hearing to issue of paid family and medical leave -- and the voice of small business was there, alongside workers and advocates, detailing the difference paid leave policies make for Main Street.

Tony’s situation exemplifies the importance of universal and inclusive paid family and medical leave to small business. He lost a valued employee whose mom was dying and was not able take unpaid time off to care for her. In recent years, with the passage of the NJ State Paid Leave program, he has been able to support his employees to take leave when they are welcoming a new child or dealing with a serious personal or family medical issue. Tony’s before and after snapshot illustrates just how critical a public paid family and medical leave policy is for all working people -- including small business owners themselves.

Small business week serves as an important reminder to Shop Your Values

Small business owners across the country relaunched the Shop Your Values campaign during Small Business Week. Main Street business owners created their own unique content to lift up their values. As a result, Main Street Alliance channels saw over 700 percent increase in engagement, compared to the Shop Your Values holiday campaign, including an exciting uptick on Instagram (connect with us @mainstreetalliance_). Check out some awesome posts from Main Street small business owners here, here, and here.

Small Business Week awareness activities support MSA’s ongoing efforts in D.C. and eight states to pass paid family and medical leave, as well as earned safe and sick time.

  • Vermont: Main Street Alliance, co-chair of the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance Coalition, continues leading the charge for a statewide family and medical leave insurance program. Despite efforts to water down the bill, MSA-VT is committed to ensuring adequate time for each parent to bond with a new child as well as time to care for a family member and to recover from an illness or injury is included.


Ana Tsantir, owner of Two Bettys Green Cleaning Service in Minnesota, describes how paid leave serves as a retention tool for businesses of all sizes.

  • Minnesota: On May 3, small businesses joined a roundtable with Governor Tim Walz  and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan​ to discuss why Paid Leave is so critical for small businesses and families. MSA-MN also released a storybook chock full of stories from across Minnesota. Butter Bakery Owner, Dan Swenson Klatt, took his advocacy to his business email list.

  • Oregon: MSA-OR small businesses continue to voice support for HB3031, which would create a statewide family and medical leave insurance program.

  • Nevada: MSA is working with the Time to Care Nevada Coalition. Despite small business support for the earned sick and safe time bill, the legislature is likely to move forward with a bill that carves out the state’s small employers. Small business voices will be critical to improving the law in future years.

  • Maine: Thanks to over 200 small business owners who signed on to show their support, earned paid sick time continues to move forward in Maine.  It would be the first state to guarantee that part-time and full time workers have the right to paid time off to use as they need.

  • New Jersey: New Jersey Citizen Action, Time to Care, Main Street Alliance of New Jersey and other partners are celebrating significant expansion of the state Paid Family and Medical leave law, effective June 30, with a more inclusive family definition, expanded job protection and funding for outreach to workers and small business. Tony Sandkamp’s testimony to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee highlighted the importance of this program to small business.

Wondering why it’s Small Business MONTH and not Small Business Week?
We’re planning outreach to elected officials throughout the month to share stories of small business owners from around the country who support Paid Leave and the FAMILY Act. Are you interested in joining our effort?

Get in touch!


NEW REPORT: Nearly half of Minnesotans struggle to afford health care, 79% are worried about costs

NEW REPORT: Nearly half of Minnesotans struggle to afford health care, 79% are worried about costs

Small business owners call for the MinnesotaCare Buy-In

ST. PAUL, MN — It’s no secret that health care is a top concern for Minnesotans. Nearly half of Minnesotans (47%) have faced hardships due to the high cost of health care. new report by the Healthcare Value Hub reveals how severely health care costs are affecting Minnesotans across the state. Minnesotans report going uninsured due to costs, delaying or foregoing care, and being unable to pay medical bills. The vast majority adults in the state (79%) are worried about affording health care in the future.

Read more

Texas v. Azar Decision Continues Republican Attack on Health Care and the Success of Small Businesses

Small businesses fear losing critical access to health care

Washington, DC – In response to the federal judge’s decision in the Texas v. Azar case, Main Street Alliance National Director Amanda Ballantyne released the following statement:

Affordable, comprehensive health care is vital to small businesses, which is why the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been central to so many Main Street success stories. The Texas v. Azar decision is a threat not only to the millions of people living with pre-existing conditions but also to small business owners struggling to provide their employees and families with affordable care.

“In the midterm elections, small business owners joined millions of others to vote in a new Congress with a clear mandate: make quality health care affordable for every person in the country. But Republicans have continued their attacks on the ACA. The president and GOP have primed the Supreme Court, where this suit will likely be heard, with the appointment of Justice Kavanaugh, who has a history of siding with big insurance and drug corporations over Main Street businesses and people in need.

“Main Street Alliance and the small businesses owners that make up our network are calling on our newly elected officials to protect people with pre-existing conditions and deliver affordable care to all.”


Read more

Shop Your Values Spotlight: Adeline Wright, Owner of Adeline, Inc., Duluth, MN

In the Spring of 2018, Duluth became the 20th city (or 32nd jurisdiction) to pass earned sick and safe time ordinance so that all workers could have paid time off to care for their families and health. This ordinance passed in no small part due to the advocacy of small business owners like Adeline Wright, owner of Adeline Inc. Salon.

Adeline supported the ordinance at council meetings, public events and in TV news interviews, challenging the opposition of Grandmas’ franchise and other big businesses. She led Duluth small businesses to fight for the best possible policy to pass. After it passed, Adeline hosted an event for businesses to learn about the new law and how to implement it sooner than the city’s mandate of 2020.

Read more

Election Victory for Tim Walz & Peggy Flanagan is a Win for MN Small Businesses

For Immediate Release: 11/7/18

Contact: Corinne Horowitz, (612) 232-1655

Election Victory for Tim Walz & Peggy Flanagan is a Win for MN Small Businesses  

Looking forward to working with an administration that will support MN small businesses and hold corporations accountable

ST PAUL, MN Small business owners with Main Street Alliance congratulate Governor- elect Tim Walz and Lt Governor- elect Peggy Flanagan on their historic victory against Jeff Johnson.

In his acceptance speech,  Governor elect Tim Walz spoke directly to Minnesota business owners. “If you own a business and you want to work together to reduce healthcare costs, build affordable housing, and make a difference in your communities, I will be there as your governor to make that happen.”  

Main Street Alliance co-chair KB Brown and owner of Wolfpack Promotionals responded, “Well, let’s make it happen. We are looking forward to working with the new administration on supporting small businesses by improving access to healthcare and benefit programs, as well as other initiatives that grow Main Street economies.”

“We need innovative ideas to help small businesses. Deregulation and tax cuts for corporations starve our communities and harm small businesses,” said Jason Rathe, owner of Field Outdoor Spaces and co- chair of the Main Street Alliance MN.  “We want to see the MinnesotaCare buy-in as a path towards a single-payer system, paid family and medical leave, statewide earned sick and safe time, and more funding for childcare and infrastructure.  We welcome solutions to the labor shortage in our state.”

“As we look ahead to 2019, both newly elected officials and those who held their seats should remember the important role Main Street businesses play in our country. Small businesses are at the heart of successful communities and help build a strong local and national economy by creating secure, well-paid jobs. Tonight’s results demonstrate widespread support among small business owners and the general public for policies that strengthen our economy,” said Corinne Horowitz, MN State Director of the Main Street Alliance.

Main Street business owners were also relieved that voters have clearly pushed back against racism, hate and divisive politics in this election.

We have elected candidates who will fight for our diverse community and for American values of inclusion,” said Danny Schwartzman, owner of Common Roots Cafe. “This is a core value for us, but it’s also a business issue. We are supporting our employees, our customers, and our community, many of whom are under attack by the Trump administration and their allies.”

Our elected officials should seize this opportunity to improve our policies around paid family and medical leave, health care, taxes, immigration, and more, which in turn will create a level playing field for businesses of every size and strengthen local economies across the country.”

Main Street Alliance Minnesota small business members are available to speak to the press about what this election means to them and our Main Street economy.   



The Main Street Alliance MN works to provide small businesses a voice on the most pressing public policy issues across the nation. Our advocacy promotes vibrant businesses and healthy communities, and fosters leadership development of socially responsible business leaders.


Midterm Election Victories Show The Power of Small Businesses

Washington, DCToday, small business owners and other community members across the country turned out in droves to cast their ballots for candidates supporting Main Street.

Read more

Vote For Candidates who Deliver for Main Street Businesses

Do politicians really care about people like me — a small business owner, a woman, and a mother of three — and my employees? Or will they put the interests of giant corporations and their donors first?

Read more

MN CD-8 Candidates Respond to MN Duluth Members Questions on Key Small Business Issues

Main Street Alliance Minnesota Members Meet with CD-8 Candidate Joe Radinovich and receive questionnaire responses from Pete Stauber.

Read more

Paid Family Leave and Supporting Small Businesses this Election

One of the issues I am concerned about in the election, specifically Governor’s race is electing a candidate who will pass paid family leave legislation.  I was part of the effort to pass earned sick and safe time in Minneapolis and then protect it against preemption at the state level, but it’s not always quite enough for small businesses like mine.Dan and Nathaniel N, a Butter Baker who just came back from paternity leave

Good bakers and cooks are hard to find and keep. I do everything I can to reduce turnover at my cafe, and paying fair wages is part of that.  I was an early adopter of earned sick and safe time when the ordinance came to Minneapolis, and it’s been good for my business. My employees know they will be taken care of, so they are loyal and work hard and that benefits my business.  Last spring, when one of my two full-time bakers found out his partner was pregnant, I was one of the first people to know. They were worried about taking time to be off and wanted to be able to plan.  

While the employee had earned six days worth of paid time off, I decided to pay three weeks paternity leave. Honestly, it cost me quite a bit, and was even more challenging as I had to pay another employee overtime to cover the missing employee’s time. To make up expenses like these, I end up just not paying myself.

It was the right thing to do, and I am glad that the family had that time together, but I can’t imagine doing this for more than one employee in a year.  Restaurants run on a very small profit margin. We need more support for paid family leave to pass next session. I will support candidates who make it easier for small businesses like mine to provide benefits to employees, so people can work at our restaurants and retail shops and still have a high quality of life and access to healthcare and basic benefits like family leave. 

MacArthur and Trump: No clarity or honesty

MSA NJ small business owner, Dan Preston on health care & small business. Originally posted as a Letter to the Editor on November 2, 2018 in Burlington County Times.

Read more


get updates