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Driving what matters most

November 12, 2021Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber

I bet you don’t have to read this morning’s note from yours truly to know what I’m about to share with you.

‘Tis that time of year.  And there’s never been a more important time to understand and embrace what is at stake.

I’m talking of course about the next few weeks leading into our holiday season, and the absolute importance of spending local (and shopping Chamber members first).

I always encourage those I meet to shop Chamber members first. Why? Those are the businesses – large and small – who support the Chamber’s mission to help enhance the economy and quality of life of our great community. Supporting them is important. And if someone you know isn’t a Chamber member, it’s never been easier to join the movement. Simply nominate them to be a member – we’ll do the heavy lifting.

Now, let me get to the point.

Folks, we MUST support our own. And although we realize that it isn’t always realistic to spend every dollar we have in our local business establishments, we need to try.

We all know the impact – every dollar spent in Abilene will turn over an average of seven times before its value dissipates in our local economy. If you spend $100 with a local jeweler, that local small business will spend that to pay for their insurance. Their insurance provider will spend that $100 on a new vehicle. That auto dealer will spend that $100 on signage from a local sign maker. Rinse and repeat 7x.

And while that ought to be reason enough, odds are you’re going to find what you’re looking for locally. Abilene has a great offering of small and independent businesses.  You can take your purchase with you, not wait for UPS to drop it off on your doorstep. And there’s an experience that awaits you. While you’re out spending locally, stop off for coffee or tea, a meal, or even a new pair of boots or sneakers for yourself. And that small business owner will probably remember your name and be there to service the sale long after the holiday season is behind us.

Encourage others to come shop with you. Especially friends and family from outside our market area. We’re known as the center of our region – so we’ll get transient business anyway. But reach out to a friend and invite them to Abilene for a day or two. And instead of speeding off to the metroplex to join them, show them right here at home why we love West Texas. And once night falls, tell them to look up. They don’t get to see the sky like we do. Not in a huge urban area, anyway.

There are a gazillion reasons why I ask you to think about the importance of shopping local. These are the people who support your child’s sports team. Or productions at our beloved Paramount. Little Johnny’s piano recital and little Susie’s classroom. They’re our friends and neighbors.

Two more quick points.

Let me just share that while Amazon and the likes worry me, I’ve also learned a lot about how to use the “monsters” as a way to benefit our local small businesses. Your Chamber is working on an offering that will help you to understand the use of Amazon as a sales channel. Look for that in the coming year.

And let us not forget the struggles our friends and neighbors in business have experienced over the last 18 months or so. Covid. Snovid. Supply chain issues. Inflation. Scarce workers.

If there’s ever been a time to support “LOCAL,” wouldn’t it be now?

Think of our economy as a bucket. We can keep filling that bucket with new jobs and investment and such, but if what we put in leaks out the bottom to other communities or the Internet, it will never be fully full.  Help us seal the hole in our economic bucket.

Let’s do all we can to keep our dollars right here at home this holiday season. Utilize our Keep it Local e-gift card program driven and supported by our friends at First Financial Bank, good at any participating Chamber member business – there’s no better way to thank your employees and customers (and it’s super easy and convenient, too). Thank those who drive our economy and create jobs and invest in our community by doing business with them.

Afterall, it’s all about Abilene. Abilene matters most. And we’re thankful for that.

See you on the sidewalks!

Doug

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