The U.S. Small Business Administration's Dallas/Fort Worth District Office has named Smith’s Gardentown Family-Owned Small Business of the Year for 2022.
The Wichita Falls independent garden center was chosen from hundreds of other small businesses in the 72-county district which includes Dallas, Fort Worth and all of East Texas as far south as Waco.
To qualify, businesses must be family-owned for at least 15 years and ownership have been passed down from one generation to the next. Criteria includes evidence of success as measured by sales and profits, increased employment opportunities in the business, demonstrated potential for long-term business success and economic growth and overcoming adversity.
“We have certainly overcome quite a lot of adversity over the years,” said owner Katherine Smith. “In fact, we have qualified for and repaid four separate SBA Disaster Loans over the past five decades.”
The first SBA loan was to rebuild the nursery after a devastating hail storm in April of 1964. The second was to rebuild after the Terrible Tuesday tornado in April of 1979. The third was to help recover from the drought of 2011 through 2015, and the fourth came during the COVID shutdowns in 2020.
“Although we appreciate the SBA being there for us through all these disasters, I fervently hope we never have to apply for another disaster loan again!” Smith said.
Smith’s was founded by Katherine Smith’s grandfather and father Curtis Smith around 1949, then was continued by Katherine and her two brothers, Steve and Doug. Now her son, Michael Fiore, represents the fourth generation of the family to operate the business.
Smith’s Gardentown was named Texas Family Business of the Year by the Baylor College of Business in 1999 and has earned a Texas Treasure Business Award from the Texas Historical Commission. The garden center frequently appears on Garden Center magazine's annual Top 100 Independent Garden Centers List and was named Wichita Falls Small Business of the Year by the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, as well as winner of the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for marketplace integrity and Texoma’s Best for many years.