LINDALE, Texas — As 2021 begins, East Texas businesses have weathered an unprecedented challenge. Against all odds, there has been growth in the region — growth that can also be found outside of East Texas' larger cities.
Shelbie Glover, President and CEO of the Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce, says new businesses are opening amid the pandemic.
"We had a couple of new spas open up and we have a couple of new restaurants open up," Glover said. "Ladies clothing seems to be a big target this year — we had several of those open up. So it's been a good year. Our downtown really is flourishing with business and activity."
In Lindale, it's been a learning process through COVID-19, testing and trying new things to see what resonated with customers. "Everyone needed to figure out what made them relevant, what made them important, what made people feel safe to come into their businesses," Glover said.
Another key change Glover mentioned was advertising to customers in new ways, and convincing them to utilize social media. "Everyone was going to social media to see what are their hours, what time are they open? What are they offering? What can they provide to their customers, that keeps them here local," she said.
The Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce plans to move forward with events in 2021, with support from the community and other local chambers. "We have four major events, we have eight lunches and breakfasts that we have on the schedule. But the thing that I'm most hopeful about is that we can continue to support each other. I think the one thing that COVID did, is it brought us all together," she said.
Glover also mentioned that chambers across East Texas remain in close contact to see how they can help support each other.
Through 2020, changes had to be made, but business is up and people across the region are still shopping local. The Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce continued their creative ways of getting people to shop locally.
"This was our third year to do the Shop Lindale campaign where we partnered with five banks, Mineola Community, Austin Bank, Texas Bank and Trust, Southside Bank, and Shelby Savings Bank," she said. "We partnered with those five to put $5,000 back in the community by shopping local, and it was simple. People took their receipts to those five banks showed it to them, they got an entry form and stamped the back of the receipt. And then we gave $5,000 away in cash prizes. We ended up having $228,000 worth of receipts turned in for that program, which was up from last year. Last year, we did a little less than 200,000."
Finding creative ways to work and shop as East Texas works to get Back to Business.