It’s the most challenging time of the year

November 30, 2020Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

Hard to believe that just one short year ago, I wrote an article to share with you that was all glittery and happy and nothing but sunshine and green lights. It was entitled, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

That article is one I look forward to each year – because it’s all about who I am. It was a promotion of Small Business Saturday and was full of encouragement to shop local. Shop Chamber members first. If you’re up for refreshing your memory, here’s what I wrote.

So much can happen in a year. And so much has.

We’ve all been battered and bruised, worried about our businesses and our loved ones, and more unsure of what tomorrow will bring than ever before.

But one thing remains the same: the need to support local businesses has perhaps never been more important than it is right now.

So, here’s today’s analogy.

Think of our local economy like a five-gallon bucket. And imagine that the bucket has a hole in it. And through that hole leaks out what we put into that bucket. To patch or fill that hole would be unrealistic. So all we can do is keep pouring more and more into the bucket hoping we can put more in than what comes out.

Think of our local economy as that bucket.

Think of that leakage as what we lose to out of town and online shopping.

And think about how we grow our economy while battling constant leakage. And then think about how we will fill that leaking bucket with a lid on it. That lid is a pandemic.

Folks, the world isn’t closed. Abilene, Texas, is as open for business as it’s ever been. But shopping may look and feel a tad different this year. But our friends and neighbors – your fellow Chamber members – need your support.

Last year, before the proverbial you-know-what hit the fan, I cited an article that read, “According to Entrepreneur magazine, ‘when a consumer buys local, significantly more of that money stays in the community.  n 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.” Especially now.

I’ve been heartened to see on social media the number of people who are supporting our local economy. Our economy appreciates it.

If you read last year’s article mentioned above, I went on to say a year ago that shopping local keeps our community unique. Let me take that one step further this year and suggest that shopping local now will help to keep our local economy alive.

Mask up. Sanitize. Physically distance. And while you’re out, take a little extra time to grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant and beer, a cocktail or glass of wine at a local pub.

Finally, let’s continue to show our appreciation for our healthcare workers. I can’t imagine what these great, tired people are going through to help our community right now.

Put a small thank you on social media, and let’s let our healthcare community know just how grateful we are for their efforts. It’s a daunting task they have upon them.

So here’s my ask: think about how you can support our local businesses and our healthcare community this holiday season. Post photos of you and your families shopping local. Post small notes to our caregivers about their sacrifices during this stupid pandemic. Leave a positive review for your favorite local retailers and restaurants.

And together, let’s keep our community doing all that’s reasonable and necessary to get through this.  I have no doubt that when this is behind us, we’ll all be better for it.

After all, that’s Abilene.





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