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Small Business, Big Impact: 4 Reasons to Support Local in Downtown Arlington

This week, from April 30th to May 6th, is National Small Business Week according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and we’re celebrating all the small businesses that have left a big impact on our community. So what is a small business? The SBA defines a small business as a company that employs less than 500 people. Small businesses are responsible for nearly two-thirds of American jobs and generate almost half of the country's output. Downtown Arlington is a combination of locally owned businesses, started and developed by people who either grew up in the area or saw great potential in this growing city.

From restaurants to office space to creative institutions, these entrepreneurs returned to their hometown downtown to bring their own unique interests for the whole neighborhood to enjoy. When these smaller companies keep their business local, they are increasingly supporting the local economy. In a report done by the SBA, it was revealed that small businesses are more likely to seek services, such as financial or legal aid, from fellow local businesses, compared to larger corporations who typically have in-house teams to handle most situations. So, by choosing to support your local small businesses, you're providing them with the means to support each other as well. Here are four more reasons to support Downtown Arlington’s local businesses:

1. Developing Personal Connections

When you support local, you’ll often find the entrepreneurs behind your favorite bars, restaurants, and venues working side by side with their employees to ensure you receive the best experience possible. Anyone who has ever visited J. Gilligan’s Bar & Grill most likely has fond memories of Randy Ford as he makes his rounds around the restaurant with his iconic green apron and comforting smile. This is what Downtown’s community leaders do best. They’re not unknown entities, known only through urban legends. Instead, they go above and beyond to develop personal connections with their customers. If you’ve ever worked for a franchise in the retail or food service industry, then you know that this type of transparency is hard to come by.

2. Helping Create a Community

Ask Downtown locals about their favorite thing to do in their free time, the answer is going to be along the lines of taking a painting class at Catalyst Creative Arts, playing a game of trivia on a Wednesday night at Division Brewing, or watching their favorite sport on Grease Monkey’s televisions. Their first choice will always be a locally owned establishment because that’s where you go to grow a community. At local spots, such as Binions Ice House or Los Molcas Tacos, you can easily be introduced to new people over a game of darts, or you can find likeminded people who are regulars at your favorite business. This is how a community thrives: by bringing together people from all walks of life and creating a common ground where they can bond and connect through food, fun, and art.

3. Discovering Interesting Things and People

One of the best things about supporting local businesses is that they usually offer things you can’t find anywhere else. Small businesses carve out their own, unique place in their respective markets by introducing niche concepts into a community and welcome them to discover something new. Regulars at Cartel Taco Bar remember the first time they saw a taco with macaroni on the menu and recall being absolutely bewildered by the concept. Of course, curiosity took over and they tried the “Blackened Chicken Taco” in all its glory and became hooked. Next thing you know, you’re there every week and you meet the one person who waited his entire life for someone to combine macaroni and tacos. From there, you meet more and more interesting people all because you were willing to explore the fascinating things around you.

4. Supporting Future Growth

Arlington is known as the American Dream City for its incredible capacity for helping jumpstart careers and creating an atmosphere for creators and developers to see their dreams come true. Those who have strong roots in Arlington, such as Inclusion Coffee’s Josh Moore and Hurtado BBQ’s Brandon Hurtado, have grown to build a name for themselves inside and outside the community. Moore opened a secondary Inclusion Coffee location on UTA’s campus and Brandon Hurtado opened a location inside the Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers. Though his business has spread to more corners of the metroplex, you’ll still find him grilling and smiling almost every day at his Downtown Arlington location. When we support the growth of small businesses, we’re not only fulfilling the dreams of our aspiring leaders, but we’re also giving them a place to always call home regardless of how far they go.

Follow Downtown Arlington on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more information about the various small businesses around Downtown Arlington and subscribe to the Downtown newsletter to stay updated on any other hidden gems coming to Arlington. Oh, and don’t forget to get out there this week and every week after that and support all the local businesses that keep this community running strong!