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In-home businesses have direct appeal in Roseville

By: Scott Thomas Anderson, Editor
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In-home businesses accounted for 5 percent of Roseville’s economic activity in 2011 — and entrepreneurs running ventures from the comfort of their living rooms say there are solid reasons why.

One Roseville business owner who likes having a business in her home is Earth Kentro, owner of Earth Life Designs handmade jewelry. Kentro specializes in beads, earrings and necklaces which are sold at craft fairs, public events and the online shopping center for artists, Esty.com. Kentro acknowledges challenges that come with not working out of a traditional storefront, though she believes Roseville’s atmosphere can help make up for some of them.

“The problem with selling online is getting exposure,” Kentro said. “Potential customers want to touch and feel your work with their hands. As an artist, it’s hard to communicate what you’re doing through pictures alone. One advantage I see to having an in-home business in Roseville is that the city has a lot of gift fairs and public events ideal for vendors trying to build a client base.”

Kentro added that in-home businesses carry a much lower financial risk than their traditional brick-and-mortar counterparts, which makes them appealing.

“When you’re a small business that’s starting out, renting an office brings in overhead costs that can ruin your chances before you even get off the ground,” she said. “When you’re doing an in-home business, it’s easier to work within your means and have the time to gradually build it up — so that maybe some day a physical store is a realistic possibility.” 

Amidst the earthquakes in California’s economy in the last five years, Roseville has seen in-home businesses remain a consistent factor in city commerce, needling steadily between 4.2 and 5.3 percent of overall active business permits. According to Roseville public information officer Brian Jacobson, the city has so far received 5,651 requests for new business permits or permit renewals, 398 of which were in-home operations. 

Overall, business permits in the city fell by 100 applications from 2010 to 2011. Whether in-home permits, which fell by 20 permits from 2010 to 2011, will have the numbers to continue to hover around 5 percent — or shoot higher — remains to be seen.