Twickenham Square in downtown Huntsville was humming with activity Monday as leaders came together to celebrate National Small Business Week.
The five-day celebration, which continues through Friday, is an annual event that recognizes entrepreneurs and small business owners from all 50 states and U.S. territories. In Huntsville, the Chamber of Commerce hands out “I Shop Local” buttons each year to encourage shoppers to spend dollars locally to generate more tax revenue.
When shoppers spend money at small businesses, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said they also help to create and retain jobs in the community.
“When you shop local and shop your small business, you’re supporting everybody that you see on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
The Chamber held a news conference outside Beaute Nail Spa, one of Twickenham’s newest tenants, to raise awareness of National Small Business Week. Several local merchants provided samples and giveaways during the Twickenham Block Party that followed the event.
Tharon Honeycutt, vice chair of small business and events for the Chamber, said 94 percent of Madison County’s nearly 8,000 businesses have 50 or fewer employees. Honeycutt’s business, MSB Analytics, falls in that category.
“Something like this today just puts the focus where it should be,” he said. ” … We know how important it is to have customers and customers who are repeat customers who continue to support us day in and day out.”
The U.S. Small Business Administration reports more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, which creates two of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. Tom Todt, statewide director for the SBA, said Alabama has 350,000 small businesses.
He said the “shop local” campaign needs year-round awareness.
“You can’t do a more important thing for your community than to shop local,” he said.
May 4, 2015