See the 2022 Women in Business Magazine

National small business week: Shining light on Hays businesses

When you think of small businesses, your mind may instantly remind yourself of the local barista who serves your coffee every morning or maybe the flower shop you visit every Valentine’s Day. National Small Business Week is celebrated during the first week of May every year, in honor of the entrepreneurs who play a vital role in the growing economy. 

We asked the small business owners in Hays County to reflect on the challenges they face; how their business supports the community; and how the community has supported their business along the way.

We will continue this series next week to feature as many businesses as we can.

Lost Creek Laundry Company in Dripping Springs – Tonya Toungate

Staffing is a challenge. My business is in a place that is more than one person can handle, but not making enough to pay a staff member full time. I pay my daughter to do pick-ups and deliveries. We support the community by offering a laundromat here locally with the added plus of pick up and delivery services. Many parents are busy with schedules and life. We hope to help relieve the burden of laundry and make their lives a little less chaotic. We love our community. We have been here since 1995 and have had other businesses. This just makes sense with all the growth coming in. We have several vacation rentals we do laundry for. 

 Lone Star Central Doula Services in Kyle – Melissa Ronson

 Some challenges are finding clients and getting my name out there. I am a small business and help the community by donating canned goods when there are food drives and helping other businesses be seen by tagging them on Facebook or sharing with others in the community. The community can help me by telling others they know who may be interested in my services. 

Mena’s Sparkle & Shine – Vanessa Mena

The one challenge I have faced most this year is not being able to accommodate new clientele since I have been blessed to stay booked! The way I have donated to the community is by donating $100 worth of gift cards to Wallace Middle School for teacher appreciation week and I also donated to Legacy Church for their Easter event. I’m always looking for new ways that I can support the community. The community has supported me by giving me business and referrals for potential clientele and by voting me Best Of North Hays.

Faces In The Dark Tattoo in Kyle – Becca Grant 

Challenges faced include keeping up with demand and maintaining the standard of customer service we strive for can be tough with a smaller team, especially during the pandemic when we had to make so many changes at the drop of a hat.  We are so grateful to have so many amazing clients and nothing compares to working with your best friends. 

I think the biggest way we’ve helped in the community is by donating to different programs and events in the area. Most recently, we contributed several gift certificates for the Lehman grad party, the benefit for Papa Jacks and a benefit for the tornado victims in Round Rock. Time doesn’t always permit for us to be present at every event, but we feel privileged to do what we can where we can. 

I can say we truly have the best clients and that’s the biggest support we could ask for. Being in a smaller city and one of the few tattoo shops, we weren’t sure how well-received we would be, but we couldn’t be more wrong. The community of small business owners in this area are so supportive of each other too, which is one of the things that really makes Kyle special to us. 

Cady’s Cooking in Kyle – Cady Lu

I think the biggest challenge is marketing the business and just getting the word out. There’s so many sources that people can turn to in order to get their entertainment and information that it’s hard to know the best places to reach people to make them aware you exist. The second largest, especially as a business of one, is setting up a safety net and feeling like I can take the next step in my business, which in my case would probably be establishing a presence at local farmers markets.

I like to think I support the community by providing a niche service that people might otherwise not find in a suburban/rural location. I also hope that by sharing the foods I make I’m providing some inspiration and showing people that even with dietary restrictions that they don’t have to settle for “less-than.”

The community has supported me in starting the business by leaving reviews and interacting with my social media, which is my main driver of my business. Having that feedback is great not just as a business owner to know what’s popular, but also as someone who loves to bake, to know that my creations are attractive to others.

GiJaBell’s (Bridal, Quince & Evening Wear) in Kyle – Natasha Valles 

Some challenges I face are the consistency of the flow of foot traffic.  My business offers the local community a local and convenient option to bridal gowns, Quinceanera gowns and dresses for the entire bridal and Quince Court. As well as little girls’ dresses. Hays County doesn’t have many options and so making this available to the local community was my heart. In addition to the option, we carry an array of different designer gowns and unique pieces and retail them at a fraction of the cost. The community has helped bring awareness to my business. I’m a part of the Kyle Chamber and they were present at my ribbon cutting and designer weekend show. It was a success and we created traction.

Joy Piñatas

The challenge I face is that I don’t have enough space right now. Since I just started this business, I am mostly new to everything. The ways I believe and feel it supports the community is that I try to give kids joy and happiness through my piñatas. I love to put a smile on a child’s face by looking at their piñata. A child’s smile is priceless for me. Even though I just started I feel the support from several people around the county. 

Kyle Family & Injury Chiropractic – Kimberly Johns Shoemaker 

[A challenge we face is] getting in front of residential people. Letting them know that chiropractic is more than just adjusting backs. We offer so much more.  We are all about supporting our community. We give 100% our new patient fee back to the community. We have donated to the food pantry, women shelter, Buda’s Brightside Dayhab center, all the schools, all the boosters, fire department, police department, many nonprofits, Chambers, angel tree, local businesses and are raising money for the Kyle Area Seniors Zone’s new building now. The community has been great to us. When we do food drives or other events they always show up and help out. 

Coco and Bella Creation’s – Miranda Parr

Buying supplies with inflation of prices right now at the moment the market for things is really expensive. Makes it really hard for some small businesses to last and make it. At the moment, we just started our business two months ago. We have not had that chance to do what we want to do with helping the community. We would like to donate to schools and small local nonprofits in our communities.

Kyle Automotive Center – Brian Fennell 

There is a nationwide shortage of competent technicians so hiring good techs is very challenging. Another issue we’ve had is our small size in a rapidly growing community and the ability to grow while not overcharging your customers to do so.

We try to support the community by providing high level vehicle repair and maintenance at a more affordable price than our competitors while supplying a longer warranty.  We also support Battle Scarred Motorsports, a nonprofit benefiting past and present military members and 1st responders. We are also the Texas Chapter home of the organization. 

Community support is fantastic from our great customers’ referrals to others. Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising tool so completing repairs and maintenance right the first time is very important to us. The community keeps us so busy we work exclusively by appointments and usually one  or two weeks out!

Bougie Clay Co – Jamie Mccommas White

I have four boys who all play competitive soccer and I homeschool all four. I also work as a nurse at Ascension [for the]night shift. So, attending different market days has been challenging. Online advertisements and social media presence is what I rely on to make sales. Word of mouth has been great so far but I am looking to branch out.

I have been in business for less than six months, but have recently raised more than $1,700 for a widow that lost her husband unexpectedly. Seeing the support of the community that rallied around her has me wanting to do more fundraisers for the community. 

Local friends and family have been huge at helping get my company noticed. IThe support for the fundraiser from the community has been very heartwarming. The widow who lost her husband is a well known doctor in this community and she loves seeing the earrings made for her worn on her patients and people within the community. She said everytime that she sees them on people, she smiles which has been hard to do with her recent loss.

LionHeart Hobby in Kyle – Danielle Adams 

Small businesses always face challenges with making sure that the people who would love their products know they exist. We do a lot of marketing, and we still have folks coming in every week who had no idea we are here and who wish they had known sooner.

 Creating a welcoming and inclusive community that is open to beginners and encouraging to everyone is a huge part of who we are and what we do. We also personally run the Kyle Chess Club which helps scholastic chess scholars play a better game of chess. Our goal is to start the LionHeart Chess Federation in Hays County and run USCF sponsored chess tournaments that will draw in people from all over Central Texas. 

 The community supports us every day by showing up and telling their friends. We have people come in every day who are wowed and they usually return with friends. We love Kyle and are proud to build our business here. 

Alexander Home Team, Keller Williams – Megan Beard

 There’s a heavy concentration of great realtors in the area. With the current market standing out, and gaining new clients, [it]can be challenging.

 We do a monthly “stock the fridge” for schools, local FD and PD, Hays CISD admin and bus barn. We sponsor multiple local charities and the Hays Education Foundation and Brad sits on the FBOC Board as well as other boards and committees. We also work with our local preferred lender who specializes in VA, teacher, and first responder lending. 

 By using us for their real estate needs, and referring us to their family and friends.

We also support and sponsor Buda 4H, and Buda Vo-Ag. The owners’ daughters are both very involved in 4H. They show pigs, and one participates in the 4H horse project.

 Hays County Physical Therapy and Wellness in Kyle – Nicole Laird

Some challenges we’ve faced are getting the word out to the community about who we are and what we do. With a small team, we have to be creative about how we interact with the community. 

We connect with other small business owners in the area to promote businesses and people we’ve grown to know and trust. We collaborate with local businesses to do workshops and participate in community events. We provide a one stop shop for wellness in the Hays County area where people can come to focus on their strength, heal and build community through physical therapy and fitness. 

The community has been welcoming and supportive by spreading the word about our unique business. They’ve shared with friends, family members, and other colleagues to support our mission of helping people heal to the core. The community businesses have been supportive in providing networking opportunities and participating in workshops to spread knowledge to the local communities. 

Clear Springs Family Dentistry 

A challenge that we face as a locally owned dental office is the influx of corporate chain practices. Their vision of mass-produced dentistry differs from the goals of a small,  individualized family practice. 

We support many local schools and PTA organizations, community events like Kyle’s Founders Day Parade, the New Year’s Day 5k and Plum Creek’s Hootenanny on the Hill. We have sponsored student attendance at Barton Middle School’s sixth grade camp and have had local artists display their work in our office. 

 We love living and working in the community. It’s great to see our patients at softball games, back to school nights and even at H-E-B. Neighbors tell their friends about our office and we are able to grow our practice organically.

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