WAXAHACHIE

Small businesses play a vital role in job creation and quite a bit of charitable work throughout any community, which is no doubt the case in Waxahachie.

Residents will have yet another reason to show their support at the register by participating in Small Business Saturday on this weekend.

Downtown Development Director Anita Brown stated small businesses are critical to the community because of the work they do outside of regular business hours.

“Our small businesses are those who donate when the church has a fundraiser or when your ball club has a fundraiser,” Brown said. “So if we don’t support them they are not going to be able to support all of the things that go on in our community.”

Brown stated shopping at local businesses provides people with a unique experience that they can’t find anywhere else.

“I barely shop anywhere else. We have got a great business mix. We have 20 restaurants, 12-15 antique stores, 10 boutiques, and two art galleries. Anything that you want or need you can find downtown,” Brown said. “You are going to have the friendliest customer service that you are going to find in downtown.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration website, there are 2.6 million small businesses across Texas that employee 4.6 million people (45.9 percent) of the workforce. The state also has 1.1 million businesses that are owned by minorities.

American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010.

Fresh Market Coffee shop owner Shane Henry stated Small Business Saturday is essential and not only from a financial side. He explained it shines a light on the community as a whole.

“Even bigger then the financial side it brings awareness of what is in your community. So you get to show off what makes Waxahachie unique and why our downtown is special and important. It has got to get supported by consumers if it is going to say,” Henry said. “So it is great to have a day that is locally known and patronized by our citizens and out of town visitors to help support the local people.”

Henry added that, as a small business owner, the biggest struggle is the cost of any given product.

“We don’t order in the quantities of your giant box stores. Our price point is not the same. I know, for myself, we try to source as much locally as possible,” Henry said. “So again, to be truly competitive in pricing means that your market value is not as high as what the big box stores are able to provide. So it comes down to what’s the value in having a small local business owner and how you can translate that out to your customer.”

Henry stated the moments that are the most rewarding to him as a small business owner are connecting with his customers and hearing about the experience they had at the shop.

Owner of the Crafty Scrapper, Carolyn Ross, stated small businesses provide a personal touch that can’t be found anywhere else.

“With a small business you get the special touch with the knowledge of the product, and customer service,” Ross said. “I take pride in our customer service and creativity.”

Ross stated it is the little things that people will remember and will bring them back to the store. Things like personal service, taking time to order product for them, and friendly attitude of employees builds that lasting relationship.

She noted having a shop adjacent to the historic Ellis County Courthouse makes you an unofficial city ambassador — so you have to be knowledgeable about the community to provide customers with that unique experience.

Ross stated if you don’t go the extra mile then all people will be left with is online shopping.

For more information about this national event go www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small.