The importance of small businesses is not lost on the residents of Brenham. Spring break, Hot Nights, Cool Tunes, the Christmas Stroll and many other events take center stage in the small business hub of downtown Brenham.

Local business owners are trying to figure out how to run their businesses in what many call unprecedented times. For many, it’s hard to plan for the future when things are changing so rapidly.

For Reka Pennington, owner of of Tater Tot Kids Childcare, the planning began about two weeks ago when she saw the need to take extra precautions for the children she takes care of.

“I implemented these precautions before the CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommended because I’ve been watching how people in other states have been reacting,” she said. “Even though Washington County doesn’t have any confirmed cases, I am being proactive to keep it out of my doors.”

Texas Child Care Licensing, the licensing agency Pennington is under, instituted fever checks for kids at the door. Pennington is taking it a step further by fever checking when kids arrive and after nap time, when kids typically catch fevers.

Pennington commented on the notorious stockpilers making it hard for the parents to find essentials for their children, such as diapers and baby formula.

“People are acting like it’s the apocalypse and it makes it really hard for (parents) to get the things they need,” she said. “Now (parents) aren’t just having to worry about their jobs, they worry if they’re going to be able to find what they need for their kids.”

Pennington is anticipating more change in the coming weeks.

“The world has gone though bigger things than this, so we will survive,” she said. “We may have to change our way of life and modify and get though this.”

Matt Lowery, owner of LJ’s BBQ, is trying to do what is best for him, his business and his family; but amid uncertainty, these decisions are becoming hard.

On March 16, LJ’s closed the dine-in portion of the restaurant and moved to a to-go model for those with a hankering for smoked meat.

“It’s a fluid situation,” Lowery said. “The unknown is pretty scary.”

Lowery announced Monday LJ’s will be closed until further notice. His biggest concern is the health of his employees and family and doesn’t want anyone to get infected.

“It’s really stressful,” he said. “You got to weigh what’s good for your business and what’s good for your community as a whole and what works good for your employees and your staff. These are decisions we never though we’d have to make.”

Lowery had not noticed a decrease in business this past week, saying many of his orders are often to-go anyway.

To help keep people stay home but still shop local, LJ’s is offering meat by the pound, vacuum sealed, which is easy to freeze and reheat.

Lowery shed some hope on the situation, saying many local business are banding together to get each other through these difficult times. He said everyone at the city of Brenham has been helpful and are great sources for information.

The Brenham Economic Development Foundation is promoting “The Great American Takeout” challenge today and is asking residents to support their local businesses in dining out from their favorite restaurant.

For a list of participating businesses, visit or

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