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Huntsville Chamber Kicks Off Small Business Week With ‘I Shop Local’ Button Campaign

Tom Todt, Alabama State Director for the Small Business Administration. The Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County kicked off National Small Business Week this morning at Grille 29 in Village of Providence in Huntsville. (Lucy Berry |

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Heavy rain across the Valley this morning didn’t stop the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County from gathering at Village of Providence to kick off National Small Business Week.

The five-day small business celebration doesn’t begin until Monday, but a couple dozen small business owners and leaders from the community already sported “I Shop Local” buttons to prepare for next week’s festivities.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, who said he left behind several businesses when he became mayor, reported more than 90 percent of Madison County businesses are small.

He called small businesses “the backbone of our community.”

“They’re the businesses that start off at someone’s kitchen table, in someone’s garage, on somebody’s couch, and then they turn into companies that hire one and two people,” he said. “Then they hire four and five people. Some even go on to hire 50 and 60 and some of them go on to become Fortune 500 companies.”

National Small Business Week, which has been recognized every year since 1963, takes place May 12-16. Chamber ambassadors will distribute “I Shop Local” buttons to Chamber small businesses to celebrate the weeklong event.

The “I Shop Local” campaign was started to encourage residents to spend dollars in Huntsville and Madison County, further creating and retaining jobs and generating more tax revenue for the city and county.

Each year, small businesses employ more than half of the private U.S. workforce, according to the Small Business Administration. The U.S. Office of Advocacy shows that small businesses create 75 percent of new jobs.

“This is a salute to small businesses,” said Tom Todt, Alabama director for the Small Business Administration. “We do salute the small businesses, the men and women, the entrepreneurs who keep them going in spite of everything.”

May 9, 2014

Lucy Berry | By Lucy Berry |

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