Mom-and-Pop Business :: The Heart of America


When you think of the term “Mom and Pop Business”, do you instantly picture in your mind something like an old antique store? Maybe an older woman in a top bun selling jams and jellies from mason jars? That is what I used to picture in my mind whenever I would hear this term. Over time, I have come to realize that there is substantial meaning, that a Mom-and-Pop business is the heart of America.

Technically, a Mom-and-Pop Business is defined as “of or being a small business that is typically owned and run by members of a family” in The Free Dictionary. This term is not subject to just family-owned businesses. It’s just emphasizing the importance of having a small employee count and a monetary value to this business as well. I am all too familiar with this terminology, as I myself am part of a Mom-and-Pop Business aka Limited Liability Company (LLC).

I’ll give a little background to help paint the picture of exactly how I became a part owner of Thomas Woodworking KY LLC. In 2016, our military family decided to leave active-duty life and come back home to Louisville for my husband to pursue a full time Army position with the state of Kentucky. Once we were all home and settled, my husband and his father started to fiddle around in the garage together. One thing led to another and they began to create wood projects together. My father-in-law had basic tools in order to do this. After months of this hobby life, they both decided to invest in more expensive equipment. I’ll spare you the details of that timeframe. It escalated quickly! Jump ahead to the year the hobby became a discussion to go into business together.

In 2018, my husband and his father decided they needed to go all in. They filed the paperwork with the state of Kentucky, crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s. Custom woodwork continued to unfold and take shape into the visions they both had together.

What truly was the game changer, in my eyes, was the day my husband came home from the garage and said, “Hey, look babe, I made earrings in the machine from Kentucky Bourbon Barrels.”

I’m not going to lie to you all, initially the idea seemed ridiculous to me. Boy, was I wrong.

Flash forward to 2021, we have grown beyond what we ever imagined. In the last year, our Kentucky Bourbon Barrel jewelry and accessory line has officially launched on an e-commerce platform. I was carved into the LLC as a member to help manage the business on the backend. At 38 years old, I have learned the importance of hashtags and SEO. It was such a blessing that unfolded so quickly for our family.

I don’t want to just focus on my own Mom-and-Pop business. I want to talk about the importance of these types of businesses in general. As we all know too well, the Covid-19 pandemic has been catastrophic for the American economy. While our business held steady, many small businesses have suffered greatly. Many small businesses have had to close their doors forever. My heart is with them as I know they lost more than just money.

Being a small business owner requires hustle, passion and your own blood, sweat and tears, figuratively and literally at times. So, when the economy crashes and small businesses are forced to close their doors, hearts are broken from years and sometimes decades of hard work.

Mom-and-Pop businesses are the heart of America. I guarantee you that those owners are putting their hearts into providing services and goods. I cannot encourage people enough to keep supporting the movement for local business support. It has been so incredible to see the hashtag #buylocal, #shoplocal, and #supportsmallbusiness trend on social media. I saw this love during the Holidays online and also in my kitchen as I was packaging up so many personalized orders. I kept thinking to myself how amazing the support has been for both our little business, as well as so many others, as I like to call them, “hustlers” out there. They take their passion and vision and give back to their communities.

Mom-and-Pop business life may have its uncertainties at times, but one thing is certain: supporting a small business gives directly back to your local economy, and keeps passion alive more than you know. Thank you to all that continue to support small business.

What small business do you love supporting in the Louisville area?


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