A City Council committee will consider a proposal for Boston to build a digital marketplace that local small businesses, including restaurants, could use to offer their wares as a way to compete with the big providers.
Councilors Tania Fernandes Anderson (Roxbury) and Ricardo Arroyo (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) proposed the idea at a council meeting today.
The two said the idea is to build the sort of e-commerce infrastructure small businesses, in particular in heavily BIPOC communities, could not create on their own - Arroyo said 80% of Boston's small businesses are owned by immigrants, many of whom would be unfamiliar with the intricacies of online commerce.
Their proposal could also integrate support from City Hall's existing programs to support small businesses to help them thrive, Fernandes Anderson said. They noted the problems restaurants had with third-party delivery fees at the start of the pandemic, when in-person dining was banned.
Arroyo said that one of the things he most appreciated about former Mayor Tom Menino was his commitment to keeping large big-box stores, in particular, Walmart, out of Boston. Even today, Arroyo said, he refuses to step into the Target in his district, in Roslindale Square, as one small way to support local small businesses.
The proposal now goes to a Council committee for study before the council as a whole gets to vote on the idea.