Stockton small business rankled by Forbes list

February 9, 2011

Misery loves company but not when it comes to the Forbes magazine list of “America’s Most Miserable Cities.”

The report ranked Stockton, California dead last among U.S. places to do business for reasons that include a ravaged housing market, violent crime and the high rate of unemployment.

A recent Huffington Post article referred to the city as “Foreclosureville, U.S.A.” based on its 9.5-percent foreclosure rate – one of the nation’s highest.

Not everyone is willing to take the news lying down. Business owners like Chrissy Dehoyos, who runs Stockton’s Kharma Spa & Boutique on Pacific Ave., said she’s not giving up on the Central Valley city any time soon.

“We call ourselves the best little secret in town,” said Dehoyos, who purchased the spa in January with the hopes of boosting demand for facials, manicures and waxings in the coming year. “There’s so much potential here.”

If people were to stroll down Stockton’s pedestrian friendly “Miracle Mile,” they would see a host of small businesses trying hard to make a go of it, said Dehoyos, who was skeptical of the rankings released earlier this month.

“We have San Francisco Floral, a yoga place – all sorts of different business that are wonderful,” said Dehoyos, who employs a part-time staff of six.

Dehoyos is not ready to throw in the towel, noting there have been other hard-luck cities that have managed to transform themselves into viable places of commerce.

“Oakland has gone through the same thing Stockton is going through,” she said, citing its recent resurgence. “People don’t give Stockton enough credit. There’s beautiful parks, beautiful areas.”

Photo credit: A company that provides bus tours to potential investors tours a neighborhood during a tour of homes that have foreclosed in Stockton, California February 2, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

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