VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) – Small businesses have been the backbone of Valdosta for the past year and as 2022 is wrapping up, these businesses have taken the last few hours left in the year to reflect on their growth and appreciate the community’s support.
Many businesses have passed through Valdosta and along the way, some have made this small town their home. As you take a look around Valdosta, you may have seen new clothing stores, restaurants and construction of all kinds taking over the city.
And as the year is wrapping up, business owners are thankful for their community.
Becoming a business owner may present some challenges, but boutique owner Jessica Marbury said having faith and understanding that you serve the community is what helps your business to grow.
”Really the biggest goal was just opening. It was really taking that leap of faith and getting my business out there. I opened September 1st and business has been pretty steady, and a lot of people find out about my business from social media and a lot of my clients are actually visitors of Valdosta as well,” Marbury said.
And supporters are encouraging people in Valdosta to continue to support small businesses — something that makes Valdosta even more unique.
“Small businesses flourish because of their community, and it brings a unique sense to their town. It makes the town special to have small businesses that other places do not have,” said Carolyn Daniels, a Valdosta resident.
The restaurant business is one that’s harder to stay afloat but through it all.
Pedros Tacos and Tequila employees said the opening of their restaurant this year has given them the hope they needed to survive. The building that Pedros Tequila and Tacos is located in has also seen its fair share of business owners, but General Manager Cristal Mejia said despite the infamous history, she has other goals for her business.
“I didn’t think it would have been this good. We’re really happy to be in this community. The people here are very friendly and very nice. Every time our customers walk in here, all they do is compliment the restaurant so that makes every one of us really happy. Something that I heard a lot is that restaurants don’t really last in this building, so I think one of our first goals would be is staying in here and not going anywhere.”
First-time customer Melissa Strawn enjoyed her time at the only two-week-old restaurant.
“So far it’s been great, we got seated really quickly and it took less than 10 minutes for us to get our food and supporting one another and doing stuff that actually helps the people that actually live in our community versus a big corporation,” Strawn said.
While starting a business may seem hard, Marbury has this message for future entrepreneurs.
“Must. Especially downtown. Downtown needs businesses for sure. We need to get the people down here and follow your dreams, follow your heart. Whatever you need to do, just do it,” Marbury said.
The support from the community has been unmatched this past year and business owners are feeling the love too. And one thing supporters have in common is their urge to encourage others to continue to support small businesses all to help uplift the Azalea City.
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