Cristi Spring, the owner and founder of Think Local Amarillo. I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My mom's brother David was the original center of my families’ entrepreneurial journeys. David had a body shop in Amarillo in the early 80's. He wanted to place a classified ad in the only paper available in Amarillo, Ad Beat Want Ads. They didn't accept call-ins and only took cash. It made my uncle so mad, he decided to start his own classified paper, the Town Crier. A year later, the Thrifty Nickel franchise owner came through town, met with my uncle and created a partnership to make Town Crier a Thrifty Nickel. My mom worked along side David to build the paper. My mom took ownership of the paper when my uncle moved on to start another paper in the Dallas area. The paper eventually turned into American Classifieds and my mom ran it for 29 years.
My mom taught me how to do graphic design right out of high school and I eventually went to work for American Classifieds in 1992. I started as the graphic designer and worked my way up to Production Manager. I worked on graphics, printing, promotions, and event planning. As I moved into marketing, I got more involved with the sales department and became the Sales Manager. While working with the sales department, I was able to go out and meet with existing and potential customers. The majority of the customer base for American Classifieds was Amarillo's small, locally owned mom and pops. My favorite part of being a part of the sales department was meeting new business owners and getting to hear "their story". I loved to hear why they started their business, what they had overcome, how much they had learned and changed, and what their future plans were. I had the privilege of working with my mom, a passionate staff and hundreds of amazing local businesses for over 22 years at Thrifty Nickel (American Classifieds).
I was born and raised in Amarillo and worked with Amarillo’s local businesses through American Classifieds for many years. I have a passion for small businesses and for Amarillo. In 2017, I launched Think Local Amarillo to celebrate Amarillo's local independent businesses and to educate Amarillo on the importance of supporting these businesses along with the economic and social advantages they bring to our community. It truly breaks my heart to see one of our independent businesses shut down. And when I see a new and flashy franchise go up, I fear for the survival of the existing small businesses that will now have to compete on an unlevel playing field. I'm proud to be able to be able to utilize my talents and passions to market the independents I'm so fond of in a unique way!
Our ideal customers are the mom and pops who started from the ground up to create an Amarillo branded business with no help from a chain or franchise. They are the dreamers and the doers and the backbone of Amarillo. They infuse their passion and personality into their business and offer their expertise to our community. They are the ones that sponsor your kid’s soccer team and pass on their entrepreneurial spirit to the next generation. If this sounds like you, then join us!