The Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation offers an array of services such as free workshops and seminars, general business assistance, access to networking events with other business professionals and on Tuesday night, another service, a “Roundtable Discussion,” was introduced at the Entrepreneur Center.

In the past, the EDC held classes at its building on First Street. “We decided to do more of a round-table type of meeting because we feel it would make it more open,” said Dianne Drussell, EDC business retention specialist. “Rather than one person speaking to an audience, the owners can discuss ideas amongst each other.”

New and seasoned small business owners talked about issues and obstacles they tackled on a daily basis while finding resolutions from their peers.

Small businesses from photography to social services came to the discussion. Topics included networking, funding sources, hiring employees and social media.

The discussion was facilitated by Teresa Chavez, the director of continuing education at Central Texas College.

Michele McGuire, owner and operator of Michele’s Floral and Gifts, started the discussion with some new business owners in attendance about the growing concerns with “keeping up” on trends in a high-turnover city.

“I’ve had to constantly gather new ideas and execute them,” said McGuire, who opened the popular shop in 1989.

“You have to gather information on your market and go from there.”

GymKix Dance, Gymnastics, Cheer, Trampoline & Tumbling co-owners Stephanie Beverage and Carrie Harris chimed in during the social media topic about how the company’s investment in hiring a professional webmaster gave them more of a “peace of mind” than trying to tackle the task themselves.

“I know computers on a high level,” said Harris, who also handles the gymnasiums’ social media. “Believe me, running your own website is a lot. It takes away time from tackling day-to-day business.”

Many of the small business owners felt the roundtable discussion was a good way to get ideas.

“I love this new innovation,” said McGuire. “We have to stick together as small-business owners. We aren’t in competition with each other — only with the big franchises.”

The roundtables are at 5:45 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the Cove Entrepreneur Center at 207 S. Third St.

Monique Brand - Herald correspondent​

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