BATON ROUGE, LA — May 7, 2019 — Today, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and online marketplace eBay announced two economic development initiatives – the expansion of eBay’s Retail Revival and eBay@Home programs to Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge has been selected as the latest partner city in eBay’s Retail Revival program, which aims to help traditional “main street” businesses effectively compete in today’s digital economy. The announcement comes during National Small Business Week, when the contributions of entrepreneurs and small business owners are celebrated across the U.S.
The expansion of Retail Revival to Baton Rouge builds on the program’s growing momentum with three other U.S. partner cities and two international cities. eBay chose Baton Rouge for its ongoing commitment to small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as for its rich history, and the potential of its retail community. In East Baton Rouge in particular, nearly 71% of all businesses have between two and nine employees1, which underlines the prevalence and substantial role of small businesses locally.
“The small business community in Baton Rouge exemplifies the vibrancy of our city,” said Mayor Broome. “Baton Rouge has small, growing businesses in every sector. From retail and restaurants that exemplify local flavor, to innovative tech companies growing in our local small-business incubators. We’re excited to work with eBay through the Retail Revival program to support and expand our growing network of entrepreneurs and small businesses.”
“As one of the largest online marketplaces in the world, helping small businesses grow and scale is central to our business and purpose,” said Devin Wenig, President and CEO of eBay Inc. “We’re honored to partner with the city of Baton Rouge to equip entrepreneurs with new tools and resources that will help expand their businesses globally.”
In the first four months of 2019 alone, U.S. retailers announced that nearly 6,000 stores will close – exceeding the total for all of 2018.2 To help counter this trend, Retail Revival enables participating sellers to “stay local, sell global” – helping sellers remain in their communities and contribute to their local economies by harnessing the power of technology and eBay’s global marketplace. Through this 12-month program, businesses receive comprehensive training, one-on-one coaching from a dedicated eBay customer service team, an eBay premium store subscription and promotional support – all provided at no cost. Small businesses in Baton Rouge will be invited to apply to the program during an application window opening this summer.
The Baton Rouge expansion follows successful Retail Revival program launches in Akron, Ohio; Lansing, Michigan; and Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as international programs in Wolverhampton, UK, and Halifax, Canada. To date, there have been more than 200,000 total transactions by the approximately 300 participating businesses in the program. Local business owners interested in the Retail Revival program can learn more at ebayinc.com/BatonRouge. Applications will be open later this summer.
eBay is also bringing about 40 full-time customer-service jobs to the city as part of eBay@Home, an initiative that allows employees to work from home.
Initially introduced in the U.S. in 2018 in Akron, Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Austin, Texas, eBay@Home expands eBay’s customer service footprint and makes a direct connection with customers in the communities in which they live and work. The company will be expanding this program to Baton Rouge in late summer 2019 by hiring about 40 customer service representatives and welcoming them into the eBay family.
eBay@Home employees will receive full-time benefits and locally competitive pay. They will also receive five weeks of paid, virtual-classroom and on-the-job training.
Mayor Broome and eBay CEO Devin Wenig celebrated the announcement of these programs at Red Stick Social, Mid-City’s vibrant new mixed-use space at the recently refurbished Electric Depot.
1 Source: YourEconomy.org
2 Source: Coresight Research via CNN