One of the qualities that sets Lubbock apart is its community spirit. This town takes care of its own, and that is a point we frequently make to businesses considering the “Hub City”. As any newcomer will notice or old-timer attest, Lubbock organizations consistently show they care by investing in the people and businesses of Lubbock. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lubbock exhibited the true depth of its commitment to the business community through a relief fund of $2 million that helped local small businesses bridge the gap during those challenging times.
During a Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) board meeting, the need to aid small businesses was quickly recognized and received unanimous support; this determination to support local businesses set into motion the basis for the Support Lubbock Fund. A partnership was established for the fund to include LEDA, Market Lubbock, Inc. and South Plains Association of Governments (SPAG).
When the Support Lubbock Fund was announced on April 22, 2020, John Osborne, president and CEO of LEDA and Market Lubbock, Inc., expressed his hopes for the effort, saying, “We know Lubbock’s small businesses are experiencing very difficult times, and the Support Lubbock Fund is meant to help them during this in-between time as we all work together to bring back our economy.” Within days of the fund’s creation, relief money started going out to local businesses with gross annual revenues of less than $5 million. The collective sigh of relief was almost audible. A total of 59 small businesses received loans ranging from $20,000 to $60,000, depending on the gross annual revenue of the company and the amount needed. These businesses represented a broad range of industries, from retail, to manufacturing, and more. The $2 million fund was fully deployed throughout the community within 13 days.
As impressive as $2 million is, the Support Lubbock Fund represented much more than dollars in bank accounts. It protected the livelihoods of hard-working people. It ensured local companies could continue to run their businesses in the face of adversity. But most of all, it made clearer than ever that, in Lubbock, we are in this together.
The Support Lubbock Fund is a true testament to the collective approach of Lubbock citizens, businesses and governmental entities standing together during tough times. This fund is one example of the way Lubbock takes on adversity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, high school seniors were confronted with the reality that the final days of their time in school wouldn’t look as they imagined. And yet, one Lubbock resident started an Adopt-a-Senior program via Facebook and paired volunteers in the community with high school seniors, ensuring these students enjoyed all the congratulations and celebration they deserved. Another effort to support our local small businesses and medical community emerged as Lubbock’s soon-to-be new business resident H-E-B teamed up with Favor Delivery to order from local restaurants and deliver free, surprise meals to medical staff. Market Street grocery store helped two local businesses by selling their food in the deli for its patrons to purchase in support. Also, Lubbock businesses received free, expert guidance on accessing disaster relief assistance during COVID-19 through the Hub City Small Business Triage.
It is easy to see: the spirit behind the Support Lubbock Fund was not uncharacteristic of the city. It is ingrained in what defines Lubbock. Our history was built by pioneers who worked as hard for their neighbors as they did for themselves. Today is no different. Since its inception in 2004, LEDA has assisted 192 companies with their expansion or relocation to Lubbock. These companies committed to creating 8,714 jobs and investing more than $1.2 billion in new capital improvements that have resulted in $1.5 billion in value added impact to the Lubbock area. In good times and unprecedented times, looking out for each other is what we do in Lubbock, now and always.