The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce named Kat Balmos the 2024 small business person of the year.

The gist

The award is meant to recognize small business owners that demonstrate “outstanding contributions of small business people to the economy and overall progress of the New Braunfels trade area,” according to the chamber’s website.

Recipients must employ fewer than 50 people, own their business for at least five years, be a member of the chamber and exhibit community involvement for at least the same amount of time.

The title has been awarded annually since 1990.

The backstory

Balmos is the owner of three different downtown retail boutiques in New Braunfels: Lot 59, The Local and Heritage Supply. Each store has its own particular character and they each opened in 2013, 2018 and 2023 respectively.

Balmos said that customer preferences for retail shopping have transformed full circle from away from downtowns to shopping malls and back again to local brick and mortar locations.

“I think that the difference is people want to go to a specialty store. I think they enjoy it. I do think that after COVID[-19] people have really embraced the local community stores. Not just because of COVID[-19] but because there is nothing else—it's online or specialty,” Balmos said.

Each store is different, Balmos said, and offers a different customer experience. Lot 59 is a mixture of vintage and retail, while The Local offers more mainstream apparel, books, plants and gifts.

“Technically if you look at it, [for The Local and Heritage Supply] the genre and the categories are similar, but what they are within those categories is starkly different,” she said.

Lot 59
  • 343 W. Cross St., New Braunfels
  • 830-837-5744
The LocalHeritage Supply