Clothing stores, antique shops and art studios continue to pop up throughout downtown Denton and a large percentage of these stores are owned by women.
And Denton is not alone in seeing a growth in women-owned businesses. The American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses reports show that from 2007 to 2014, there has been a 17 percent growth in women-owned businesses across the country, and 24 percent statewide. While localized numbers have not yet been made available from 2012 census data, local officials estimate Denton and the county are outpacing national and state growth.
“We have a lot of women-owned businesses downtown, and I think as more people become entrepreneurs, the amount of women in business is increasing, not just in Denton but nationwide,” said Julie Glover, economic development program administrator for the city.
While the most recent local statistics aren’t yet available, the previous patterns of growth show a strong upward trajectory. From 2002 to 2007 there was a 39 percent increase in the number of women-owned businesses in Denton County, according to the economic census.
Traci Davis, the owner of Garden Gate, said she has noticed that a lot of the new businesses coming to the downtown area since she opened up shop have been owned by women, including Serendipity on the Square, the DIME Store and A Creative Art Studio.
Now, a group of the owners meet about once a month outside the Denton Main Street Association to try to come up with ideas to attract shoppers and help their businesses.
“I definitely have [seen it grow] because there are a lot of businesses now on the Square owned by women,” Davis said. “We try at least once a month to meet and see what everyone’s doing and if we need to promote things, like if we need to do a Ladies’ Night for the next month or if we’re expecting a month to be slower.”
Being a woman-owned business can have an advantage, said Phyllis Pittman, owner of Cookies by Design, which has been in business for 24 years. Since her store handles a lot of corporate orders, she has some customers who are required to do a percentage of business with women- or minority-owned companies.
“I think there were more opportunities for women-owned businesses,” she said. “There was a benefit putting it in my name.”
As a longstanding business owner in the area, Pittman said she has noticed that most of the boutique and specialty stores tend to be owned by women, but restaurants and service companies in the area seem to remain predominantly owned by men.
“There are so many businesses that come and go in this town, but I think a lot of the independent ones are women-owned,” she said. “As far as storefronts though, it’s probably about half and half.”
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.