A small business owner at Bootfest said she gains new customers by selling at Bootfest, but it isn’t enough to compete with large corporations like Amazon.
Lydia Bures, of Ganado, is the owner of Urban Western Wear. She said she usually sells 40 to 50 pairs of boots at the festival and gains a few new regular customers. But her business is still having trouble competing with Amazon.
“We can’t compete with the free shipping and the next-day shipping,” Bures said. “Amazon is now the household name.”
Bures is among the many local vendors selling their wares at the annual Bootfest in downtown Victoria this weekend.
Bures said she sells items on Amazon, but it’s hard for her to make a profit because of associated fees for sales and returns.
Unlike large companies, local businesses like Urban Western Wear support their communities by fundraising for churches and sports teams, Bures said.
“We’re always donating,” she said. “It’s hard because the locals don’t realize we are the ones who are supporting them.”
Small business owners have the opportunity to interact with their customers, said Britany Alexander, the owner of Deep Southern Roots in the Victoria Mall. This year is her first year as a vendor at Bootfest, but Alexander has attended the festival for years.
She said shopping locally is important because it gives back to the community.
“You’re paying for someone’s piano lessons or groceries,” she said.
Visitors to the annual festival agree.
Lawrence Sutton and his wife, Rosemary, did some shopping at the small business booths at the festival Friday night.
He said he doesn’t like shopping online because the return process is too much of a hassle. Plus, he said, it’s important to contribute to the local economy.
“You have to give back to what’s given to you,” Sutton said.
In addition to shopping, visitors listened to tribute bands and took advantage of festival food and drink vendors. Children also had the Kids’ Corral to play games and enjoy inflatable toys.
Bootfest continues from 8 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. Saturday. Wade Bowen, the headline band, will take the stage from 9:30 to 11 p.m., ending his show in time for the annual fireworks show set off from the roof of the One O’Connor Plaza building.