Can the Lufkin community support the new niche-style businesses – …


New businesses are popping up all over downtown Lufkin and filling in the many empty store fronts. However, can the community support these niche-type businesses?

Downtown Lufkin is a hub for unique boutique-style businesses. In fact, six new businesses have already opened their doors this year and several are under construction to open soon.

Main Street Lufkin director Barbara Thompson said customers are supporting the downtown businesses.

“We are really excited about all the business that have been popping up here, but we’re really ready to embrace them too. Downtown is having a growth spurt, and as you can tell, we have traffic down here people coming in and out,” Thompson said.

Locks Lace has been open for a little over three months and they say business is great.

“We’ve actually had a lot of support from our community and also with other businesses,” said Locks Lace store manager, Megan Paresa.

Paresa said she does consider the similar boutique stores in downtown as competition, but as friends.

“We look at it as if there is more stores down here more people are more likely to come because there are options,” Paresa said.

Tracie McCleskey owns Haute Hardware.

She said people are attracted to unique items, and that’s the key to success when owning a niche business like hers.

“It works well because you could either go to Lowe’s and buy something that everybody else has, or you can come here and get more of a unique shopping experience and a unique piece to go in your home that you’re not going to see everywhere,” said McCleskey

“If you’re going to a downtown, you’re not going to have the larger chain stores. You’re going to have one or two owners downtown so that’s what makes us unique and different from the malls,” Thompson said.

But can these small, unique businesses compete?

“I believe so,” Paresa said. “I really do. Just from the small amount of time we’ve been open.”

So are people supporting these businesses?

“Yes they are supporting these businesses. There is always somebody here.” Thompson said.

Business owners say they want and welcome even more businesses downtown.

Rizzo’s is a new business in downtown Lufkin on First Street that is opening on Saturday.

It’s an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Stop by Saturday for their grand opening celebration. There will be plenty of food, festivities, fun and of course ice cream.

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