“If you haven’t been to Buc-ee’s yet…”

If I saw one, I saw 40 posts this past week that started out something like this. For a year that many are chalking up to no more than a dumpster fire, on the development front it has been a pretty good year for Houston County. In addition to seeing the Buc-ee’s development come to fruition, we had many new businesses open (and stay open). We also had a number of business and industry expansions, including Frito-Lay’s expansion that now makes Houston County home to their largest plant company-wide.

These developments are vitally important for our community, and we are grateful that these businesses choose to come to our community. They represent private investment, infrastructure improvement, jobs, and commerce. But what often doesn’t get the same fanfare is the importance and success of our small businesses in a community.

Did you know that businesses with fewer than 20 employees make up 90% of the 30.5 million businesses in America? Read that again. Businesses with fewer than 20 employees account for 90% of ALL businesses in the U.S. Wow! In fact, the same principle holds true locally except that percentage is even higher.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of a community – they give us character and an experience you just can’t duplicate. These are your friends, your neighbors. They say that small follows big when it comes to development; and while that principle certainly holds true, what I think is most important is that nobody – even the biggest big – can do it alone. And, whether small or big, once you’re here, you’re local!

I have been so inspired this year to see the genuine care and support for our local businesses and non-profit organizations. This stupid virus is still impacting normal operations for so many, and they need your support now more than ever. There is so much I am thankful for this year, and there is certainly not enough space to list everything; but I will close with this thought. I am eternally grateful that we don’t have to choose. The work of the chamber supports ALL local business, and we could not do this important work without you – our members. Keep giving it your all, and know that we are here to help however we can. We’re in this together!