LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Many small businesses have been hit the hardest during the pandemic, but Arkansans have stepped up and shopped locally to show their support.
Shopping local has always been important, but the pandemic has made it more important than ever.
Jones and Son is a family jewelry business with a rich history in central Arkansas. Company president Jacob Jones believes that the support shown to his operation is then shown back to his neighbors.
“People don’t realize that supporting a small business has a ripple effect throughout the community,” Jones said.
When people shop local, they are helping local charities. Jones and Son gives back to many organizations in the Little Rock area, including Children’s Hospital and The 20th Century Lodge.
Across town, another small business that is new to the community is so thankful for the support of locals.
Spec Ops Gaming is a Gaming Lounge with over 300 games to play, a movie lounge, a cereal bar, and virtual reality. They opened a few years before COVID-19 hit.
“The community is what keeps us here,” Jessie Steelman with Spec Ops Gaming Lounge said. “We’re the first of our kind in Arkansas and the community was excited when we opened. We were rocking and rolling before the pandemic hit.”.
Steelman said the staff worked hard to make a clean and safe space during the pandemic to stay afloat with masks and even plexiglass dividers to keep everyone safe and still able to have fun.
“We check temps when they walk in the door. We sanitize everything when they leave,” he explained, adding that the new business has had so many customers that stayed loyal to support it. “We have had our regulars who love us and supported us and kept us here.”
Steelman also believes it’s so important to lift up other small businesses.
“Spec Ops Gaming is a big believer in local supporting local,” he said. “We’ve teamed up with Flyaway Brewing, Black Apple Cider, and Community Bakery to help everyone grow with us.”
While a jewelry store and a gaming lounge may seem to not have much in common, the teams at these two separate local businesses are both appreciative of the support they’ve received as they ask the community to continue shop small.