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Target 3: Young Entrepreneurs

Dire economic conditions of the last few years have cause many young people to struggle. Some have managed by joining the family business or even starting their own. But can they survive?
For Jason Benford, operating an independent pizzeria is a labor of love. He opened The Spot almost 4 years ago at the height of the recession.

Benford says, "It's really blown up really fast in the last month or so, it is exciting. That's the reason you're here to try to reach people and make them happy and offer the best thing that you can. I feel like right now we're offering the best pizza we ever have here."

Starting out wasn't easy.

Benford says, "You've got to be tough. You really do. It's always going to be a lot of things you don't expect. There's a lot of stress. There are a lot of sleepless nights, it's tough but you start where you are and you know you have that goal. If you have an idea or a concept or a product that is"

Local experts on entrepreneurism say Jason started out in a difficult time.

Vanda Wright with the Wichita Falls Small Business Development Center says, "During that time and still young people coming out of school the jobs aren't nearly as easy to find as they once were."

She says many people took the plunge Just like Jason Some out of passion, others out of necessity.

Wright says, "They need to do something to produce income and many of them are turning to starting their own business."

Beford says his business survived because he filled a void in Wichita Falls By offering something no one else had.

He says, "I think the environment here is unique to this town. Just a look, the rotating art, open mics. A lot of people tell me they forget what town they're in."

He's hired a chef from New York with an extensive culinary background, increased his marketing and so far, business has increased at a steady pace.

Benford says, "You bring somebody else in there's new ideas there's more help. There's not as much on me."

Wright says, "Even during this rough economic time. It's tough for everyone in business, but the mom and pop's can survive."

Wright says even if they don't survive, the impact they have on the unemployment is minimal because they aren't laying off hundreds of workers.

 The Spot is surviving and thriving. They're breaking their own records selling more pizzas than they ever have, even on the slowest of days.

New chef Deniz Kader says, "The feedback you get, the request that we are absolutely doing something unique."

Wright says, "It is so important that they build that customer base and build their relationships in town. It's exciting to see young people become involved in the community."

Next week is Small Business Week, and if you're looking to grow your own small business there are resources available locally.

There will be a small business forum next week:

Governor's Small Business Forum

Tuesday, May 22nd

Vernon College's Skills Training Center

$59 Advance, $69 at the door

For more information call 723-274.

Click here for access to the Wichita Falls Small Business Development Center.

The Spot is located at 3002 Midwestern Parkway in Wichita Falls. Their number is (940) 692-7768

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