The coronavirus pandemic hit small businesses especially hard. In the early weeks, consumers buoyed small businesses with gift card purchases and online fundraising campaigns. But as COVID-19 persisted and restrictions constrained operating hours, many independent businesses continued to struggle.
Through partnerships with the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program, more than 100 local businesses are seeing increased foot traffic as contestants and winners are now using their gift cards to visit local stores while family members in attendance make purchases, boosting both income and an increasing customer base.
“I was excited to visit a couple new places I hadn’t been to before and see all that they had to offer. No Limit Custom Print made our wonderful pageant t-shirts that we will wear to many events throughout the year, along with our garment bags, and contestant gift bags. I learned about the many things they offer and highly suggest you give them a visit,” Copperas Cove Five Hills Ambassador Dawn Hale said. “Another first-time visit was Sport Clips. They were so friendly and their shop was amazing. I am looking forward to scheduling a visit with them for my husband in the near future to get a haircut.”
Camp Caylor hosted the new titleholders for their annual orientation brunch, catered by The Reef Food Truck.
“It was our first visit to Camp Caylor, but definitely not our last. We all loved it,” said Jillian Tobias, mother of Five Hills Junior Ambassador Maddox Tobias. “Maddox, of course, noticed a lot of outdoor games and is eager to go back.”
The Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant awarded more than $100,000 in college scholarships and prizes with each contestant receiving more than $400 in gift certificates to use at local businesses.
“Braelyn’s favorite items are the face paints and the little backpack she received. She loves dress-up and playing in make-up and packing everything in bags to take where we go, so these were perfect items for her,” said Christy Liles, mother of Little Miss Five Hills Braelyn Liles.
The Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program also helped bolster businesses’ social media presence by “liking” them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and writing positive reviews, posting photos, and tagging the businesses. Titleholders began visiting the local businesses on Saturday to show their appreciation.
“I have learned that without this amazing partnership between the pageant and the business community, we could not make the same level of positive impact on our community,” Teen Miss Five Hills Angelica Torres said.
Support of local businesses includes home-based businesses that bring in extra income for families.
“I especially loved the belt i received from Papparazzi Jewelry and the wax warmer from Scentsy,” said Miss Five Hills Karina Dominguez. “Just in the short time I’ve been a part of this program, I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge, support and developed new friendships,” Moore said. “Thank you to our partners for providing me this life altering opportunity.”
Young Miss Five Hills Emily Kimball said it is everyone’s responsibility to keep businesses open by shopping locally.
“The pageant introduces its many contestants and their families to various places they have never entered before,” Kimball said. “They eat out here, buy gas here and enjoy life in Copperas Cove. We truly are partners.”