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“Rust Belt Capital” – Community Based Capital Models

Why can’t communities own their commercial centers?

When it comes to conducting business, we’re so set in our ways that we rarely look at business models that don’t fall outside the norm. Unless you’re talking about cooperatives, a business is a business is a business. Typically, there’s the owner who is also the sole investor, especially when it’s a small business. Then, as businesses expands, investors are often times brought on board to help the ventures grow. But what would happen if community members came together to take control of their own destinies? Simply put, why wait for a business to boom before investing in it? This is what a Parkside resident by the name of Matthew Pelkey has posed via an article in Upstate Venture Connect.

In the article, Pelkey introduces a business concept that is probably foreign to many of us. After seeing a similar model in his travels, Pelkey set out to establish Parkside Progress, Inc., a business venture that would allow bona fide New York residents in and around the Parkside neighborhood to purchase shares in a coffee shop named “Jam” (a neighborhood owned café recently featured on BRO).

The community based capital model is one that Pelkey feels could generate a lot of business for cities such as Buffalo, while providing neighbors/investors with the amenities that they desire. Admittedly, Pelkey states that he spent months of “planning and regulatory work with the Attorney General’s office on an intrastate community offering prospectus.” It is to be assumed that this is still a very foreign concept, thus the heavy amount of work dealing with rules and regulations. But it can only be assumed that if this type of Community Based Capital Model was to became more popular, the process would be streamlined, making it easier for community members/investors to carve out their own financial destinies as they relate to their immediate wants and needs. Talk about keeping your money circulating within a local economy. 

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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