New York City’s small businesses continue to navigate the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected minority-owned businesses. According to Bank of America’s 2022 Women and Minority Business Owner Spotlight, 88% of small business owners are being impacted by inflation and supply chain issues. With the challenges small businesses and minority entrepreneurs are facing, support for these businesses, such as New York’s Kalsang Pottery, is more important than ever.
Kalsang Pottery, a pottery company based in Woodside, Queens, was started during the pandemic in March 2021. Founded by Tibetan-American Kalsang Chomphel and his wife, Tenzin Tseyang Gonsar, Kalsang Pottery creates high-quality art hand-thrown at a potter's wheel that can be used for everyday gastronomic pleasures and decorative home decor. Each product is one-of-a-kind, handmade with the user in mind. Kalsang and Tenzin hope to soon expand their business and move beyond their small home studio into a retail space somewhere in the city.
Like many new business owners, Kalsang and Tenzin work hard to increase visibility and sales while keeping overhead costs low. They often participate in street fairs and craft markets in New York City, which led Kalsang to apply for Bank of America’s Small Business Spotlight at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. The spotlight offers New York City-based minority-owned small businesses, with annual revenues of $1 million or less, an opportunity to showcase their products in a rent-free holiday shop at Winter Village.
Selected as a vendor for the 2021 season, in the two weeks that Kalsang and Tenzin were featured at the Winter Village Holiday Shops, they gained new customers, made enough profit to keep their business going and had the opportunity to interact with other artists and like-minded entrepreneurs. Due to last year’s success, Kalsang Pottery was able to return to the Holiday Shops this year as a full season vendor.
“Bank of America’s Small Business Spotlight allowed us to kick-start our business and reach new customers from across New York City and beyond,” said Kalsang Chomphel, Founder, Kalsang Pottery. “The exposure and business experience we gained during the 2021 winter season not only allowed us to grow our business and develop loyal customers, but it has allowed us the ability to secure our very own holiday shop and return to Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park for another successful year.”
Designed to empower business owners by addressing the many inequities and barriers to success – such as access to capital and resources – that women- and minority-owned businesses often face, Bank of America’s Small Business Spotlight helps drive economic growth and opportunity for local entrepreneurs. Spotlight vendors showcase and sell their products at the Holiday Shops for approximately two weeks and the bank covers the rent and basic build-out of the shop, providing local businesses the opportunity to reach new customers at one of the city’s top winter shopping destinations. In 2021, the approximately 170 holiday shops, including the Small Business Spotlight vendors, generated about $30 million in sales during the season.
“Small businesses are an indispensable part of the city’s economy, and their growth and success positively impact New Yorkers and local communities across the five boroughs,” said José Tavarez, President, Bank of America New York City.”
Bank of America is committed to supporting minority-owned small businesses. Now in its third year, the bank’s Small Business Spotlight continues at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park with four new vendors selling their products during the 2022 holiday season.