June 17th -21st marks the 50th anniversary of National Small Business Week.
These mom and pop shops are the backbone of the Southwest Georgia community.
BJ Fletcher loves her customers at BJ's Country Buffet and she knows they're the ones who pay her bills.
"If you know that they have a choice, then you've got to make your place the number one place in their mind," said Fletcher.
85% of all businesses are considered small businesses. Nationally, that's recognized at 500 employees of less but in Southwest Georgia, it is generally considered ten employees or less.
"We never want to lose our industries and we love them and we want to keep them forever but small business is where it is," said Rachelle Bitterman, Director of Communications at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.
But being your own boss and living the American dream is tough, the day doesn't end when you head home.
"It's not just a smile at the cash register, it's not just helping you, it's the payroll it's the taxes it's everything that goes with running a business," said Bitterman.
Bitterman and Fletcher both agree, customer service is key, long hours pay off when customers are happy and keep coming back.
"I like all the waitresses here and I have managed to learn all of their names," said Louise Andrews, a regular customer at BJ's Country Buffet.
"If we lose our small mom and pop businesses we're going to be in serious trouble because they provide a lot of jobs, there may not be but two or three in each one but you put all of those together and that's a lot of jobs," said Donnie Smith, another regular customer at BJ's Country Buffet.
National Small Business week ends Friday but for the stores in this community, everyday is small business day.