Although it was almost noon and Jim Januszka was awake before 1 a.m., he jumped up every time a customer walked in his store, Bite the Bagel, in Harker Heights.
His energy didn’t wane as he greeted each one with a pleasant hello and ensured their orders were filled. Januszka sat in a chair where he could access the counter quickly and watch the door between customers.
“She’s back for another muffin,” he said, popping up after spotting a woman re-enter the shop still chewing a pastry.
“That happens all the time,” he said after helping her.
Januszka is one of many small-business owners in the Killeen area who worked last week without acknowledging Entrepreneur Week, the worldwide national tribute to small-business owners.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s
2010 data, 3,228 establishments in the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Metropolitan Area have fewer than 20 employees. Those businesses combined employ more than 17,500 people in the area.
There are more than 2.2 million small businesses in Texas, and they employ more than 98 percent of the state’s population, according to the Texas Wide Open for Business website run by the governor’s office.
Many of those businesses are operated by people with dreams like Januszka, who dreamed of owning a bagel shop.
Januszka opened Bite the Bagel about seven months ago after more than a year of research and planning with his wife and business partner, Sara Januszka.
“I have never seen him so happy,” she said. “He is making something for himself. He planned it, put it on paper, and now it is happening.”
Planning is time-consuming
Before the Januszkas opened the store, they researched at least two locations and reviewed economic data — including traffic studies, populations counts and median income — to ensure the area could support the business.
Lisa Kelly is currently going through the same process. She’s the owner of Live and Let Liv Yoga, slated to open in January in Killeen.
“It is a new thing for me,” Kelly said. “I am a first-time business owner. I am probably the perfect example of everything you have to learn and do.”
Like Jim Januszka, Kelly exudes a high energy when talking about the yoga studio. She admitted planning the business was full of unexpected challenges.
“It is the hardest thing I have done, but everyone keeps telling me if it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it,” she said.
Kelly is awaiting construction of her studio but has already purchased the location. She also has drafted a business plan and done some marketing.
“It is all about finding the resources ...,” she said. “Short of Googling everything and just figuring out on my own, finding the (Central Texas) Business Resource Center was the best thing out there.”
The resource center is operated by the Killeen Chamber of Commerce, Central Texas College and Central Texas Workforce Solutions to help would-be entrepreneurs navigate the start of businesses.
The center assists more than 100 people annually to start and maintain their businesses.
Growing doesn’t mean less work
Bite the Bagel has met every goal set by the Januszkas, and business continues to grow, they said.
The family works hard to keep up the pace. Although the store has several employees, Sara Januszka works weekends serving bagels, sandwiches, salads, soups, fresh cream cheese flavors, Austin-roasted coffee, muffins and more. Two of the Januszkas’ four children also work weekends at the store.
“There is certainly a lot more work now, because I am working 90 to 95 hours a week,” Jim Januszka said. “There is a lot more involved than what you see in the front. There is all the accounting and paperwork ... It is not just me baking bagels and muffins and making salads.”
He and Kelly said they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I think the idea of owning a business and running a business and working for myself has been on the back burner since I started working for someone else,” Kelly said.