It’s the most wonderful time of the year

November 25, 2019Doug Peters, President and CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

It’s my favorite season and, no, I’m not referring to Christmas, necessarily.  Heck, it feels like just last week we were dressed up in costumes, bingeing on Halloween candy. Let’s not mix our holidays.

I’m referring to Small Business Saturday, an annual event that does kick off the holiday shopping season.

The Abilene Chamber is once again pleased to partner with American Express to bring Small Business Saturday to our members, the Abilene region’s small business community.

What’s Small Business Saturday?  Well, I’m glad you asked!

We’ve heard of Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, geared toward big box retailers) followed by Cyber Monday (geared toward e-commerce stores).  Small Business Saturday is sandwiched between the two.  And it’s an incredible, national shopping day to remind us all that the smallest businesses in our community are there for us, competing against Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and need and deserve our support.

More than 85 percent of the Chamber’s growing membership are small businesses. They’re the local, independent businesses that sweat out payroll, support our kids extracurricular activities, provide the majority of Abilenians their first jobs and on-the-job training. I know first-hand that small business owners don’t do what they do because they’re “tired of working for the man,” and “want to work less and make more money.” They’re a special breed, and I’m convinced that they were born with a special spirit.

Currently in its eighth year, Small Business Saturday is our chance to say “thank you” to our local brick and mortar businesses, the backbone of our regional economy.  Let’s all get behind this great effort, and share your experiences on social media using the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday or #SmallBizSaturday.

I’m thrilled that our Chamber is once again participating because there are countless benefits to keeping dollars right here at home. According to Entrepreneur magazine, “when a consumer buys local, significantly more of that money stays in the community.  In fact, one study found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remained in the community with only $43 of each $100 spent at a chain retailer.” We all shop chain retailers. They’re a vital part of any community. But let’s not forget the locals.

An other benefit, according to Entrepreneur, is that shopping small/buying local allows you to know the people behind the product.  It’s good to walk into a store and be greeted by name.  And it’s even better when asking for customer service because the sale originated with them in the first place.

Shopping local keeps our community unique, too.

The other cool part of Small Business Saturday is the swag that comes with it. Welcome mats, posters, bags, stickers and more should be in at the Chamber today. Stop by this week and grab your Shop Small gear!

I hope we can remember the importance of shopping small and shopping local every day of the year, not just on Small Business Saturday.

Lastly, I beg a favor – while you’re at it, don’t just think about local, small businesses. Think about local, small businesses who are Chamber members. Please, always shop Chamber members FIRST!

And, don’t forget the hashtags!




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