05.23.16

Peters Tours Downtown Market Grand Rapids to Highlight Innovative Payments Technology for Small Businesses

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today toured the Downtown Market Grand Rapids and A Moveable Feast food truck to meet with business owners and see firsthand how small businesses in Grand Rapids are using innovative technology to accept electronic and mobile payments to help their businesses grow and create jobs. Peters was accompanied by Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and Downtown Market Grand Rapids’ President and CEO Mimi Fritz. Peters is Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Payments Innovation Caucus, which seeks to explore new and innovative technologies in the payments industry and address issues concerning data security, consumer protection and electronic payments.

“New technologies including affordable, mobile, contactless credit card readers are making it easier for vendors to accept electronic payments, grow their small businesses, and provide consumers with safe, convenient payment options” said Senator Peters. “Michigan is home to a vibrant small business and startup community that is taking advantage of these technologies to reach more customers, provide convenient services, and expand their operations. As payment technologies continue to grow, I will be working to help prevent barriers that restrict access to these innovative solutions that can help small businesses compete and succeed.”

“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are essential to our local economy,” said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. “We are grateful to Senator Peters for his commitment to supporting small businesses and startups. One way the City of Grand Rapids is working to support their success is by creating community-supported recommendations and amendments to our food truck ordinance to make it easier for aspiring startups. We want Grand Rapids to be the place for businesses of all sizes.”

“Entrepreneurs need places and platforms to stay competitive in today’s economy, and for small business it is vital to have technology that meets its needs,” said Mimi Fritz, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. “Senator Peters and technologies like Square are making it easier for emerging small businesses, like those incubated here at the Downtown Market, to quickly scale and grow our economy."

During the tour, Peters visited the Oddest Supply Co. and Dorothy and Tony’s Gourmet Popcorn in the Downtown Market, concluding outside the market with a visit to A Moveable Feast food truck. All three merchants are among a growing number of Michigan businesses using Square’s electronic payments and support services tools that help merchants run their business, accept payments and connect to their customers. Square recently announced that Grand Rapids is one of the Top 5 cities with the highest percentage of growing small businesses among its sellers.

Nearly 70 percent of consumer spending is done using electronic payment methods such as credit, debit and prepaid cards and mobile payments. Electronic consumer spending continues to grow and it is expected to reach an estimated $7.3 trillion by 2017.

In May, Peters led a letter requesting a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study to better understand regulations that apply to innovative payments, determine barriers to their adoption and promote their adoption to help small businesses grow.