COPPERAS COVE — Rain and temperatures hovering just above freezing were no obstacles as eager shoppers prepared to “Shop Small” by starting their day at the Small Business Saturday kickoff event hosted by the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce and the Cove Economic Development Corporation.

About 60 small and home-based businesses participated in the annual event started by American Express in 2010 as a way to encourage consumers to support their local small-business owners.

“Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick-and-mortar businesses that are small and local — it is a great way to get people out into the community and also meet some of the home-based businesses that may not have the money to do a lot of advertising,” said Kara Moschetti, chamber activities and events coordinator. “It’s a great way to get their name out there and get people shopping local.”

Moschetti said residents who are new to a community can connect with business owners and learn something about the area they are in.

“(Small-business owners) are the reason Copperas Cove is flourishing right now, so I think that’s important,” she said.

About 90 percent of all businesses in Cove are small or home-based, said EDC business retention specialist Diane Drussell.

“When you think about our large businesses here, there really aren’t that many. Even the businesses such as Subway here are small because they are franchises owned by local residents,” Drussell said. “That 90 percent is just a ‘guesstimate,’ but easily the majority of the businesses based in Cove are small.”

While Small Business Saturday is not much of a “big deal” to larger cities in the Central Texas area, the number of small businesses providing a tax base for Cove makes the Saturday after Thanksgiving an important day for “the city built for family living,” Drussell added.

“On a day like today, the chamber does a really good job of gathering everyone up, which is why we are partnering with them on it this year,” she said. “I work with a lot of start-up businesses and young businesses to try and get people to recognize them. It’s easy to overlook the small businesses because they don’t have a big presence — they don’t have the advertising dollars large corporations do. And shopping local keeps money in the community, which means you’ll be able to do your road improvements, sidewalk improvements or beautification projects because those are all based on sales-tax dollars.”

Several local businesses, such as Michele’s Floral and Gifts and Candy Outfitters, opened their doors and welcomed home-based businesses in to show off their products. The EDC also opened the Entrepreneur Center, which showcased 11 small and home-based businesses.

“I think Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity, especially for smaller towns,” said Madeline Stockman, owner of Rosebud Baking Company and one of the home-based businesses set up at the Entrepreneur Center. “I feel like a lot of people who live in smaller towns like the opportunity to see more exposure for the small businesses. It’s also a great opportunity for those owners to get to know each other as well — it’s important for us to support each other.” | 254-501-7554

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