Lubbock Sign Maker Feels the Impact of COVID-19

Apr 7, 2020

Spring should be the start of the busy season for farmers markets in Lubbock, but this season is anything but normal. Every weekend before the outbreak, streets were closed off and filled with local farmers, food trucks, and vendors like Aaron Smith, the owner/operator of Smith Iron and Design, a metal shop that specializes in custom signs.

“Really it's almost like a business card where actually you get to show off your work and shake people’s hands. It’s where we get our big sales, it’s our big season where we makes sales, but because we are meeting people and shaking hands that’s where we get our business from.”

With the cancelation and postponements of most markets in the area, Smith says he is already feeling the economic impact of COVID-19.

“We had three markets that we planned on going to this month that have closed down on us, we are feeling it hard already.”

Smith says that the custom sign business is somewhat seasonal and he supplements his income with money earned as a musician during the slower months, but that too has been impacted by the virus.

“When my sign business isn’t going hardcore like it is during market season I rely hard on my gigs. And I had all my gigs lined up for the month, because I know it’s still a hard month for me financially.”

All of Smith’s upcoming music gigs have been canceled, interrupting both of his revenue streams.

“Music is my back up when the business isn’t running, and it all fell apart in a week.”

With an uncertain future, the outbreak now has Smith questioning his past decisions.

“I don’t know, it kind of makes me look inward. In the way of like ‘did I make the right decisions? Am I supposed to be doing this? Was I supposed to be doing something else?’ But, yeah we are all definitely feeling this today. Not just me, but a lot of my people. Dude, markets workers are just throwing their hands in the air kind of asking ourselves what to do?”

For more of Texas Tech Public Media’s COVID-19 coverage visit: