Chamber CEO: Support small businesses and #ShopABY


From the desk of the Chamber CEO

Supporting Small Businesses: The Backbone of Our Economy

In the tapestry of our communities, small businesses are the vibrant threads that weave together the entrepreneurial spirit and economic vitality. As noted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), these enterprises are not just mere contributors; they are the driving force behind job creation and economic activity in the United States, accounting for two-thirds of new job opportunities. This week we’ve been celebrating National Small Business Week, focusing a spotlight on the contributions of our small businesses and how local consumers can support these commercial neighbors.

For 114 years, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has helped businesses connect, build, influence and lead. We support businesses of all sizes and are proud to champion our small businesses, who comprise a strong percentage of our membership. Small businesses are the cornerstone of economic activity locally and nationally, generating a remarkable 44 percent of U.S. economic output. Their significance extends beyond mere numbers; they cultivate consumer spending, fostering local prosperity and enhancing market competitiveness. Through their presence, small businesses catalyze innovation, fueling growth and progress across diverse sectors.

From the general stores of yesteryears to the burgeoning tech startups of today, small businesses have been intrinsic to the nation’s narrative of growth and innovation. Their resilience amidst economic adversities echoes the indomitable spirit of American entrepreneurship, propelling us forward through tumultuous times and driving sustained progress.

Supporting small businesses transcends economic rationale; it embodies an investment in the soul of our communities. Patronizing local establishments is more than a transaction; it’s a pledge to uphold the fabric of our neighborhoods, preserving their unique identity and fostering a sense of belonging.

Here are some ways our community can support the small businesses that every day support our community:

  1. #ShopABY: Embrace the ethos of locality by prioritizing purchases from neighborhood stores and establishments. By doing so, you not only bolster the local economy but also forge meaningful connections within the community. Visit for the region’s most comprehensive list of local.
  2. Spread the Word: Harness the power of word-of-mouth recommendations to amplify the reach of small businesses. Share your positive experiences with others, igniting a ripple effect of support and patronage.
  3. Engage Online: Leverage social media platforms to bolster the online presence of small businesses. From leaving glowing reviews to actively engaging with their content, your digital footprint can significantly enhance their visibility and customer base.
  4. Attend Events: Participate in local events and gatherings where small businesses showcase their offerings. Your presence not only provides direct support but also fosters a sense of camaraderie and community spirit.
  5. Offer Feedback: Constructive feedback serves as a cornerstone for improvement and growth. By voicing your experiences and suggestions, you empower small businesses to adapt and evolve, ensuring their long-term success.

National Small Business Week acknowledges the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners, and recognizes their hard work, ingenuity and dedication, including their contributions to the economy. But a week is hardly adequate. As citizens of Albany and the Albany Area, it’s our responsibility to support our local, small businesses every single day. Next time you’re making an online purchase or headed to the national retailer, pause and consider if you could #ShopABY and spend those same dollars locally; studies show that out of every $100 dollars spent locally, $68 is recirculated within our local economy. Our small business environment, while strong, would thrive with this level of intention and investment from our consumers.

Supporting small businesses transcends economic transactions; it embodies a commitment to nurturing the fabric of our community. By championing the endeavors of local entrepreneurs and fostering an environment of solidarity, we pave the way for a more prosperous and resilient future for all.

Bárbara Rivera Holmes is president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, which for 114 years has helped businesses connect, built, influence and lead, and which is leading a multi-year strategy to advance economic opportunities and a thriving community. Learn more at