It’s official: Baton Rouge has been chosen for eBay’s Retail Revival and eBay@Home programs, online marketplace CEO Devin Wenig announced today in conjunction with Mayor Sharon Weston Broome.
Nearly 6,000 stores nationally closed in the first four months of 2019 alone, exceeding the total for all of 2018. The 12-month Retail Revival program aims to counter that trend by encouraging participating small businesses to “stay local, sell global” as they’re given free comprehensive training, individualized coaching, an eBay premium store subscription and ongoing marketing support to help them effectively compete in a digital economy.
Baton Rouge marks the latest addition to the program’s growing portfolio of early adopters, which includes three other U.S. partner cities (Akron, Ohio; Lansing, Michigan; and Greensboro, North Carolina) and two international cities (Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, and Halifax, Canada). To date, there have been more than 200,000 total transactions by the roughly 300 participating businesses.
Broome says the city has had conversations with eBay since January, after the program was recommended to Baton Rouge by another local official. There was no incentive package offered to the company.
“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,” Broome told community members this morning inside Red Stick Social on Government Street.
Applications for the Retail Revival program will open later this summer. Wenig says he expect to have 25-100 businesses participating.
Meanwhile, eBay is also bringing 40 full-time customer service jobs to the city as part of eBay@Home, an initiative that allows eBay employees to work from home. Piloted last year in Akron, Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Austin, Texas, the program will come to Baton Rouge later this summer.
Employees will receive “full-time benefits and locally competitive pay,” according to a press release, in addition to five weeks of paid, virtual-classroom and on-the-job training.