Pictured above – Tonya Lofton sits in front of Mission 931 in Cookeville on Small Business Saturday.

Thriving Cookeville small business community continues growth

Cookeville – In some places, Small Business Saturday (SBS) has become as much of a tradition as Black Friday. It is a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do to support local economies and the communities they serve.

Tonya Lofton, co-owner of Mission 931 in Cookeville, spent her SBS sitting in front of her store, paintbrush in hand, greeting hordes of people scurrying along sidewalks and shopping locally. With each stroke of the brush, she was closer to finishing another Christmas tree painting.

It is her favorite subject to paint after all.

“It’s a problem,” she said with a smile.

Busy day – Shoppers look for deals inside Mission 931

What about those revelers lining the busy sidewalks? Lofton believes the small business community in Cookeville deserves to be celebrated, and shopping local is the only way to go.

“It’s wonderful,” said Lofton. “I think everyone should shop local.”

She said supporting neighbors is important.

“I eat downtown, and we shop over here (on the WestSide),” she continued. “I think everyone should do it. It’s different, and you support your friends, family and community.”

Mission 931 is located at 37 West Broad Street. It celebrates local artists and promises “unique gifts for all”. According to Lofton, some inventory is provided by third-party vendors who want to give back to charities.

SBS gives businesses a showcase that could be overlooked in the big retail season, but on this SBS Mission 931 served a different, well, mission.

“It’s important for all of our local artists that are in here,” said Lofton. “We all work full-time jobs so that we can pay our bills. The store is a project to help the community. … We just appreciate all the support.”

Ron Moses is the managing editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal and can be reached via email. Send an email.

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