Typically, small businesses tend to shun “Big.” Big represents corporations, the bane of the independent retailer’s existence. Big means commercial, less personal, less friendly. Let’s face it. Big is a threat. But, Austin – which is arguably the entrepreneurial and small business capital of the world – is getting, well, Big.
I see this growth as a real boon for small businesses. Why? Because Austin’s “Big” is not corporate. It’s not New York big; it’s not L.A. big; it’s not even San Antonio big. It’s Austin big. And like just about everything else here, Austin Big is better. Austin Big is Formula 1, South by Southwest, the RoT Rally, and ACL Music Festival. It’s Silicon Hills and the Live Music Capital of the World. It’s unique. It’s fun. It’s cultural and high tech. And it’s a boon for small businesses. When world travelers show up in November for the first Austin Formula 1 race, are they going to want to go to big box stores and eat at chain restaurants? No. They are going to want to experience Austin. They are going to hit the funky and upscale 2nd Street District and SoCo. They are going to want to see live music at small and personal venues like Antone’s and Stubbs. They are going to want to pamper themselves at Austin’s unique spas like Milk & Honey and Lake Austin Spa Resort. They will hit a food trailer like Torchy’s Tacos for lunch and head to one of Austin’s abundant and excellent high-scale restaurants like Uchi for dinner. Then they’ll make their way to Sixth Street to party until dawn.
Meanwhile, Austinites will continue to enjoy the small events that highlight Austin’s local businesses. With loads of farmers’ markets and festivals such as the Pecan Street Festival, local Austin businesses have ample opportunities to peddle their wares to their neighbors. And high-tech startups are in excellent hands here, with local resources like the SXSW Startup Village and UT’s McCombs Entrepreneur Society.
No matter how you slice it, Austin Big is where it’s at. Whether you’re small, big, or somewhere in between, stick around. Here in Austin, it will only get Bigger and Better.