No More Grinding Gears

March 29, 2021Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

I can remember an old car I had as a kid. It was a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle split window. It was lowered and had the single best eight-track tape player (youngsters, ask your parents) money could buy mounted nicely under the dash.

It looked good and ran great – but it had its moments. I had to cover the distributor cap when it rained, and 75 percent of the time I had to pop the clutch to get it running.

There’s something to be said about that clutch trickery. The car door is open, it’s rolling, you push it into first gear and wham! Pop that clutch, and off you go! I became a master at it.

I was thinking about the odd correlation between that car I loved and our local economy. When it’s running, it runs great. When it stops, sometimes it takes a little effort to get it fired up and zooming along again.

Ladies and gents – it is time to pop that clutch and get back to highway speed.

I hope you’ll join the Chamber and many of your fellow members as we do two things: Kickoff the start of National Small Business Week and doing so with the Great West Texas Economic Reboot.

Join us on Monday, May 3 as we close Cypress Street for about an hour and celebrate the official reopening of this economic highway that we call Abilene. We’ll be at the corner of North 2nd and Cypress (by the cool new park) at 3:30 pm sharp. (Note: in the meantime, the economy is open – please keep spending local!)

I’ve watched businesses – large and small alike – spit and sputter along for the better part of a year. I watched most of our members working under the hood of their business, tweaking here and there, mostly just trying to keep the tires inflated and the battery charged. Some were able to really sweeten things up. Some worked hard to keep it out of the ditch. Regardless, here we are, and it’s time to rally.

Are you a business without a storefront? Let us help celebrate your business with a ribbon cutting during the Great West Texas Economic Reboot Ribbon Cutting thanks to Mike Dunahoo and family at Star Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram! Click here to get more info.

While you have your calendar out (now’s the time to open your calendar), mark down Tuesday, May 4 while you’re at it. That’s the date we celebrate at the Salute to Small Business Awards Luncheon where we’ll honor and recognize the recipients of the 2021 Small Business Awards! There’s no doubt that after the dumpster fire that was 2020, every business is worthy of recognition. Come celebrate those who earned the special recognition as an award recipient. Tables and tickets are available HERE. And nominations are open until March 31 for Small Business Awards. Nominate someone HERE.

But wait! There’s more! We’ve got a whole week of activities planned for you.

On Wednesday, May 5 we’ll host our regularly scheduled Wake Up Wednesday sponsored by First Financial Bank and America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Texas Tech with a focus toward small businesses and National Small Business Week! Register HERE for your chance to win a $50 Keep it Local e-Gift card!

And NEW to this year’s small business week festivities is an inaugural West Texas Entrepreneurship Bootcamp on Thursday, May 6 hosted by our friends at the Abilene Industrial Foundation and Develop Abilene team and sponsored by Perry Hunter Hall.

You have the idea and the determination to make it happen, and we have the entrepreneurship resources to help you take your idea or business to the next level. Together with our community partners, we’ll help you gain the entrepreneurial mindset and relevant skills it takes to successfully launch or grow your business. Learn more about the day HERE.

And on Friday, May 7 engage with us on social media as we pay tribute to, honor, and share fun facts about why small businesses are so important to Abilene and our economy. Include #SmallBizWeek in your post so we can share!

Gas up and show up – you won’t want to miss these major events and the official return to “normalcy.”

Lastly (I’m almost finished!), thank you for persevering the last year. Thank you for all the sleepless nights, the hard decisions and the understanding that was required of all of us during a period that I hope is never to be repeated. And take a moment to thank those around you who stood tall through the worst of it. It’s time to celebrate.



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