County to host Small Business Saturday
November 20, 2017
By Bill Wilson
The Anniston Star

The Iron Bowl won’t be the only game in town this Saturday in Heflin as merchants are getting ready to be a part of the county’s first Small Business Saturday. Organizers hope to attract customers in early to shop local before the annual gridiron showdown takes center stage.

Cleburne County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Abby Minter is optimistic that shoppers will flock to the 18 participating merchants to shop.

“This year is one of the first years that we have gotten on board with Small Business Saturday because this is a nationwide event that American Express hosts,” Minter said.

“It is always after Thanksgiving every year which just so happens to be the day of the Iron Bowl,” Minter said.

According to Minter a lot of the participating stores are doing promotions with an Iron Bowl theme; if you visit some merchants decked out in football attire you will receive a discount on your final bill.

“The Nifty Nest is actually doing an Alabama-Auburn balloon pop — so when you check out you get to pop a balloon and it has different discounts and coupons and promotions inside,” Minter said.

Heflin City Clerk Shane Smith said that small businesses are the backbone of the community and mean a lot to the city.

“We don’t have a lot of major retailers in Cleburne County. It’s mostly small business owners,” Smith said.

“It is proven that they are the people that give back to the community; they are the ones investing back into the community by living here, they shop here, they’re involved here,” Smith said.

Smith said that one of the Heflin business owners reported that on a previous Saturday after Thanksgiving the business had its best sales day of the year.

Minter said the experience from shopping at a small business is different that just shopping at a “chain store.”

“For me on a personal level when I go shop at a small business it’s like I’m interacting with my family because it’s such a different experience when you build relationships with the employees or with the store owner,” Minter said.

Minter said that businesses in Muscadine, Ranburne and Fruithurst, in addition to those in Heflin, are participating in Small Business Saturday.

Smith invited everyone to start the day at the Southern Brew Trading Company on Burns Street to have breakfast and coffee Saturday morning. Maps will be provided to show which businesses are open for business.

Smith said that the author of the book “Growing up Auburn,” Ricketta Wilson, will sign copies at the Nifty Nest Saturday morning.

Southern Brew Trading Company owner Kenny Echols welcomes the chamber’s efforts to promote Small Business Saturday.

“Hopefully with the Chamber of Commerce getting involved people will start to realize it’s an important day and important for the community and for the business owners and for the employees,” Echols said.

Echols’ business has been open for four weeks and offers coffee, beer, food and a variety of vendors offering clothes and jewelry to disc golf supplies.