After the family and turkey get stuffed, skip the Black Friday madness and shop small Saturday, Nov. 27. More than 50 local retailers and restaurants are participating with varying incentives and sales.

Maps featuring some of Athens' locally owned retailers are available from the Athens Chamber, City of Athens or the Athens Economic Development Committee and online at

November was proclaimed Small Business Month in by Mayor Toni Clay.

Small businesses form the backbone of our local economy, generating jobs and improving the quality of life for citizens and contribute to our unique and vibrant community character,” stated the proclamation.

For every $100 you spend at a locally owned business that $73 stays within the community through taxes, payroll and donations to local schools and charities,” it stated.

This is a contrast to approximately $14 that stays from big corporate owned retailers, according to the American Independent Business Alliance. In addition to giving back to your community, you will also find expertise and personalized customer service at these establishments. Small businesses also generate more tax revenue per sales dollar, meaning that greater percentages of local businesses keep taxes lower.

"Owning or running your own business is a bold thing to do because there are no guarantees," Clay said. "The least we can do as a community is support people who have that boldness. In the end we are not only benefiting that business owner but ourselves because sales tax dollars are used on city services, economic development and many other things. Please consider shopping local first this holiday season and throughout the year."

In addition to financial support, local businesses give back through providing jobs to those in rural communities who would otherwise have to commute.

Shop Small Saturday is a hugely important event for a small city like Athens,” said Joanie Ahlers, Director of AEDC. “We need to remember that small businesses are a core part of our local economy. More than 90% of our jobs are created by small businesses.”

Traci Wilkes, Director of the East Texas Independent Business Alliance and owner of locally owned Reigning Jewels, spoke on how much small businesses appreciate your support. She also stated that environmental, economic and community support are just a few of the benefits of shopping local and small.

Each year we celebrate by supporting small local businesses that are the heartbeat of our communities,” Wilkes said. “Please remember to support your small mom and pop businesses to keep tax money local. Think local first this holiday season and year round.”

One of a kind businesses offer distinct personality and diversity to a community that promotes tourism while often contributing to local causes and charities. Oftentimes these businesses offer unique hand crafted art and items not sold anywhere else, some created by local artists and craftsmen.

We encourage citizens to consider shopping small independent merchants during the month of November, and throughout the holiday season as a way to boost the local economy and strengthen our small business community," stated the proclamation.

For more information on local businesses and restaurants, log on to, or pick up a map at locally owned shops or at the Athens Chamber/Athens EDC.

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