Lowndes Co. recognizes Small Business Week, Veteran-Owned businesses

According to the Valdosta - Lowndes Chamber President, over 90% of small businesses in the county have 10 employees or less.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 9:03 PM EST
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - There are so many places to shop, eat and support local businesses across Valdosta and Lowndes County.

As we head into the holiday season, which is so important for local business owners.

Valdosta - Lowndes Chamber President Christie Moore said that in the over 5,000 businesses housed in across the county, which includes Hahira, Dasher and Lake Park, over 90% are small businesses with 10 employees or less.

“Everything that happens in this community is going to involve a small business,” Moore said.

“We are just excited to come together to celebrate the investment that you make on a daily basis,” she said.

Georgia Beer Company, Valdosta’s only brewery, is one of those businesses that has grown from just two employees to a team to support the community through their beer, community service, and business.

“We can only do that with the support of the locals who come to the brewery, pick up our beer at a package store or restaurant. We love seeing our regulars come in day after day to support our business it’s the driving for that keeps us going,” Chris Jones, founder and director of Business Development at Georgia Beer Company, said.

“We have those small businesses, and we have an obligation as a community to support those anytime and anyway that we possibly can. I encourage the citizens to support Lowndes County small business,” Bill Slaughter, Lowndes County Board of Commissioners Chairman, said.

Supporting small businesses helps local investors and their employees, but it also has a much bigger impact. Those businesses pay taxes and often reinvest in their communities.

During this month we also recognize Veteran-Owned businesses. According to the United State Census Bureau, Veteran-Owned businesses make up about 6% of all businesses in the United States.

Sunshine Natural Juices and Smoothies began with husband and wife, Anthony and Petra Tucker. Anthony always had a dream of starting a business.

“When I got out of the military, I always tried to pursue owning some kind of business. We tried and we started out cooking…it was very successful but when COVID happened it stopped us completely,” Anthony Tucker, veteran business owner, said.

Following COVID, Anthony and Petra Tucker were both diagnosed with cancer at separate times, which delayed their plans to open their business. But they were encouraged to share their “secret recipe” for wellbeing with the community.

Sunshine uses natural ingredients, fresh fruits to make juices, smoothies, immunity shots, and acai bowls.

“What makes us feel good is when customers walk in, and we can call them by name. Because without our customers we wouldn’t even be here,” Petra said. “You put your life on the line and when you come back home, you just want to be recognized. You want someone to say thank you.”

In a year, Sunshine Natural Juices and Smoothies has grown from an outdoor stand to a building on East Hill Avenue serving local customers fresh ingredients every day.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Veteran-Owned businesses make up about 6% of all businesses in the United States.