Chamber reminds everyone to shop local

Published 10:30 am Thursday, November 23, 2023

The Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce (GVACC) is encouraging everyone to shop small this holiday season. The shop local campaign will begin Nov. 20 and run until Jan. 2.

“As a chamber, we want to make sure that people are going to these places first before they go out of town or online shopping,” said Carrie Wood, Director of GVACC.

The slogan for this year’s campaign is “give us your dime before you shop Prime.” The effort is aimed at potential customers of Greater Valley Area small businesses to consider the mom-and-pop shops in the area as the first stop on their shopping trips.

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The campaign will be promoted through the GVACC’s Facebook page and banners throughout Chambers County, with a separate banner in West Point for the businesses there. 

The holiday season is also the busiest shopping season of the year, especially Black Friday on Nov. 24. With small businesses still recovering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, shopping locally is more important than ever.

As a part of the Chamber’s campaign, Nov. 25 will be Shop Small Saturday, a Greater Valley Area-focused version of the national campaign, Small Business Saturday. Wood believes many local businesses are open on Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday for customers to support.

The National Small Business Saturday campaign was founded in 2010 by American Express and is co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). For those unsure of where to find local shops, the Chambers of Commerce website has a membership directory.

The SBA Office of Advocacy Small Business Profile found that in 2022 99.4% of all Alabama businesses are considered small. And 46.8% of all employees in the state are employed by these businesses. 

In a 2016 article, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance compiled a roundup of studies that showed “local businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar [than chain stores] in the local economy.” According to these studies, small businesses also strengthen the middle class, retain more employees during economic downturns, and are linked to higher income growth and lower levels of poverty.

Wood sums this up saying, “The businesses are able to give back to the community when you support them. So it’s just a circle; a circle of love.”