Small Businesses Bring Millions To Amarillo

Hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars flow into Amarillo every year all because of a small business competition.

Wednesday, three small local businesses were awarded $75,000 each to expand their company.

But getting that money is not easy. Owners had to present a detailed business plan to be approved by judges.  Past winners say the hard work was worth it.

Brent Davis owns AirUps. He says, "we make high end inflatables, mostly for the paintball industry, but we also make movie screens that inflate, stabilizer backs for wind generators, we're getting into safety devices."

A few years ago he heard about the Amarillo Enterprize Challenge, and after taking a long hard look at his company's future, he outlined a tedious business plan and won a $75,000 prize.

Davis says, "we were able to expand as far as we were able to buy more equipment, added facilities, spent some money on advertising, that's helped our business tremendously and helped us get over that hump."

During this economic meltdown, Davis says his business is booming and looks to adding dozens of jobs in the coming months.

Same with Dr. Jeff Bennert, owner of Air Oasis, an air purifier manufacturer and 2006 prize winner.

Bennert says, "they want most of your business to come from outside Amarillo because that brings money into Amarillo and that also enables us to take on more employees and helps us grow."

That growth in small business has brought more than 300 jobs to Amarillo in the past 14 years and pumps more than $24 million into the local economy annually.

This year's winner of the $75,000, Hoop 10, is an instructional basketball service.

Owner Johnna Pointer says, "we would love to one day have our own facility, gym time and gym space is so difficult for players." Pointer also hopes to run a camp.

Along with Hoop 10, Plaska Transmission Line Construction and La Tapatia also received $75,000.