Four New York City-based women and/or minority-owned businesses were selected as beneficiaries of this year’s Bank of America Small Business Spotlight program at the iconic Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. Each business will showcase and sell their products at a rent-free booth in the Bank of America Winter Village Holiday Shops for over two weeks each. Offering these local entrepreneurs and businesses the opportunity to reach new customers at one of the city’s top winter shopping and tourist destinations, Bank of America will cover shop rent and coordinate the basic build-out of the shop.
Last year, the approximately 173 holiday shops, including the four Small Business Spotlight vendors, generated about $34 million in sales during the season.
“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 as their growth and success help New Yorkers and local communities thrive,” says José Tavarez, president, 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 entrepreneurs join a network of 17 other New York City-based minority-owned small business owners who have benefitted from this program since we launched it in 2020.”
The four featured Small Business Spotlight businesses are:
- 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 October 27 – November 12.
- Stories of a Colorful World (Brooklyn): Stories of a Colorful World is working to create a future in which children have access to stories as colorful as the world around them by increasing representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color on children’s bookshelves. 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 November 13 – November 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 November 30 – December 16.
- Copper Colored Gal Designs (Brooklyn): Designer Alejandra Remijio of Copper Colored Gal Designs 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 by sourcing textiles from within the U.S., using natural fibers to handcraft products in small, thoughtfully curated batches that minimize waste. Visit Copper Colored Gal Designs from December 17 – January 2.
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% 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.
“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,” says Courtney Wiggins, founder, 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 & Founder, 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.”
Kalsang Chomphel, founder, 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 gave us the opportunity to present our business to the market, but it opened up new avenues to gain clients, build connections, and increased our confidence to grow as a business.”
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.
Celebrating its 11th season and more than a decade of partnership between Bryant Park and Bank of America, the iconic Winter Village opens today. The Small Business Spotlight dates align with the Holiday Shops calendar and will run October 27, 2023, until January 2, 2024. Shops will be open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (opening day will begin at noon). The Small Business Spotlight booth can be found near the fountain, close to the 41st Street and 6th Avenue entrance to Bryant Park.