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In sectors from technology to food service, entrepreneurs are making it work. Here, five of them, including Bem Joiner of Atlanta Influences Everything and Pinky Cole of Slutty Vegan, discuss what's next for Atlanta.
When all of us are hunkered down at home, it means no one’s going out for drinks or dinner or a haircut or to a gallery opening. For hourly workers, small retailers, and people in the food and service industries, the shutdown of metro Atlanta—twice!—in a month means millions in lost revenue.
With its Fortune 500 companies and successful startups, metro Atlanta is like “a shaken-up Champagne bottle, ready to explode,” proclaimed AirWatch founder Alan Dabbiere, one of the area’s most successful entrepreneurs, at last fall’s Venture Atlanta gathering.
Compared to other cities in roughly the same genre (youthful, sprawling, diverse), Atlanta doesn’t offer much of a platform for would-be indie food entrepreneurs with small budgets. I hear the same complaints constantly: “Why do we need twenty parking spaces or a grease trap as big as a Volkswagen to start putting out good food?” One major culprit seems to be a real estate landscape that favors cookie-cutter developments with oversized storefronts anathema to creative types.