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Denton County a great place to do business

We’ve been noting numerous new business ventures around the county, which is a positive sign for the economy.

Many of the new ventures are not large operations, although their cumulative impact is far from small.

Small businesses play a key role in the country’s financial structure and represent one of the traditions that helped make America great.

Many of us grew up in families where small businesses — operated by our parents, grandparents or other relatives — provided our first job and a first glimpse at private enterprise.

Some of us sacked groceries at a local market or stocked shelves at one of the independent retail chains that have served small-town Texas through the years, or perhaps we took orders at one of the county’s many small restaurants.

Yes, small businesses are a tradition in Texas, and they’re certainly not fading from view, in spite of concerns to the contrary. We’ve reported on plenty of additions from Pilot Point, Aubrey and Sanger on the north to Lewisville, Roanoke and Argyle on the south.

It’s good to see so many new business owners getting started, and we wish them well. Denton County’s continued growth should provide plenty of potential customers and ensure a continuing market for success.

Each new business is a labor of love and requires a lot of faith on the part of its owners. Most of us are aware that the odds are against a fledgling business finding success.

But some business stories are more inspirational than others and certain openings seem a little more miraculous.

One couple’s dream to open a Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise in Sanger is such a story.

Tracy and Katrina Norris put all their savings into the restaurant on the east side of Interstate 35 and recently celebrated a successful opening.

That was no sure thing, they told us, because they had been in “survival mode” after encountering construction problems last year. Not only did they miss their initial opening date, but they were also left several thousand dollars in debt.

They downsized, sold off assets and did everything else they could, but keeping their dream afloat looked doubtful, until supporters stepped forward to help.

Some friends from church witnessed their struggle, and by November the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association had more than 20 veterans from across North Texas working to get the business ready to open. “Vets helping vets” is the motto of the nonprofit organization and its members put that philosophy to work in support of Tracy Norris, who served in the Marines.

The team of veterans, augmented by community volunteers, saved the couple an estimated $20,000 in contracting costs and aided in finding another set of investors to help get the restaurant up and running. The new investors, Jeff and Desi Gutknecht of Aubrey, came along this year, and the project’s pace soon started to pick up.

Concrete was poured, a drive-through service area was built, and finishing touches were made to the interior of the building. The owners are now looking forward to what the future holds.

Like we said, this is an inspirational story, but it’s far from unique in these parts. People stepping forward to help their neighbors is another Texas tradition.

From helping raise barns on pioneer farms to generating the support needed to help rebuild homes, churches and businesses lost to natural disasters, people here are ready to help.

That’s one of the reasons that Denton County is such a great place to do business.