Sean Place, of Main Street Alliance: Standing up for Small Business Owners

Although Main Street Alliance has been a Hatch tenant for about a year, we only recently welcomed Sean Place, their new State Organizer. Main Street is a unique non-profit that gives a voice to small business owners whose opinions and needs often get lost when it comes to policy issues in the community. It is a national program, but Hatch is lucky to be host to its Oregon affiliate in one of our fireboxes. Since 2009 Main Street Alliance has been pushing healthcare reform for small business, and its co-chair was influential in the fight for the Affordable Care Act. When small shop owners were struggling to provide healthcare for their employees, MSA’s co-chair was testifying in Washington, D.C. on their behalf.

Having been in his role for three months, Sean Place is responsible for communicating with small business owners and getting feedback about their ability to speak out on matters they care about. He actively listens to their opinions on policy issues, and through these meetings, he is better able to understand how to act in their best interest.

Originally from Ann Arbor, Mich., Sean has a diverse career history; he has worked on consumer rights and equality issues, and has extensive organizing experience in the environmental community. He was inspired to work at Main Street Alliance after helping his brother run an IT company, where he was exposed to the struggles of the small business community.

It is obvious that the biggest advantage of being a Hatch member for them is the community and networking that comes with the space. Their mission meshes well with Hatch’s environment, and they feel at home in a community of entrepreneurs and non-profits (not to mention alongside their partners, Family Forward Oregon). Main Street Alliance has even been working closely with Hatch’s Executive Director, Amy Pearl, on the Community Public Offering ruling (more about that here), which would be a huge benefit for the Alliance and its constituents.

Main Street Alliance has also brought great things to Hatch, such as their Money on a Mission event in October, which Hatch sponsored. There we celebrated small business, connected Main Street business owners with local lenders and discussed economic development opportunities. We look forward to continuing to work with Main Street Alliance and Sean Place, and witnessing the great things they are accomplishing right next door!