By Gov. Greg Abbott
Amidst the challenges faced in communities across Texas these past few months, there have been small blessings from which we can gain strength—including a renewed sense of community. We now know the incalculable value of neighbors helping neighbors.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, and kick off the Christmas shopping season, I encourage you to shop small and shop local this Saturday—in your neighborhood and beyond.
Small businesses are big in Texas, representing 9 in 10 of all businesses in the Lone Star State and employing nearly half of all Texans in the workforce. And I’m proud that Texas continues to rank among the top for small-business friendliness, for women-owned businesses and for veteran-owned businesses, because Texas needs small businesses to succeed.
Homegrown small businesses like the venture started by entrepreneur Pilar Gonzalez of Mission who was recently honored with a Governor’s Small Business Award. Using a favorite family recipe, she developed a line of all-natural gourmet yogurt dips now available at HEB under the brand Dip It, making shopping small in your neighborhood an option every day of the year.
And we now know that our neighbors are not always just next door or down the street. They may come from a county or more away. That is one of the lessons learned following Hurricane Harvey.
For example, Governor’s Small Business Award winner Jenn Cain and Shalen Cain, her husband and co-owner of Rita’s Ice in Corpus Christi, lost power during the storm, and then lost all of the shop’s inventory. Resupplied and back open in just days, they sent a mobile truck to Rockport giving out free Italian Ice and frozen drinks to residents and volunteers. Because that’s what neighbors do.
So this Saturday, I invite you to shop small. Here are seven reasons why.
Small businesses create jobs in your community. Money you spend at the corner coffee shop or Main Street retailer supports families in your neighborhood, jobs in your community and even other local independent businesses down the street.
Shopping local keeps your tax dollars in your community, helping to fund local public services on which you and your family rely.
Small businesses make your community unique. When you shop small, you are investing in the vibrancy of your community, what makes it appealing to your family.
Small businesses give back to your community. They are the mom-and-pop shops that sponsor the local soccer team, the school fundraiser and community events.
Small businesses are likely to be family owned. And what drives many family-owned businesses is the sense of connection with the community and the customers whose names they know.
Small businesses offer more unique products. Where else can you find one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry, locally sourced foods and affordable regional artwork—all on the same block?
Small businesses are the heart and soul of Texas. Men and women willing to take a risk, to dig deep into their own pockets and stake their future on an idea, have long written the story of Texas. That pioneering spirit in our small town downtowns to our big city centers still fuels our shared prosperity.
Shop small and shop local this Saturday. Then consider a short trip to the Coastal Bend communities still recovering from the storm. Spend a day and a few dollars at the small businesses there. The return on your investment may come back to you one day as the hand of neighbor reaching out to help you.