Chamber Checks are a win-win for all
by Jack McNeely
Dec 01, 2013 | 586 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jack McNeely
Jack McNeely
It is official, the 2013 holiday shopping season has begun. But let’s be serious, a late Thanksgiving forced the retail community to start heavy holiday promotions earlier this year.

My wife and I were among the hoards of folks looking for great deals at big box retailers and department stores that pushed the Black Friday sales up into Thanksgiving evening. I certainly prefer burning off the Thanksgiving Day calories by shopping that evening than the 3 a.m. alarms that kicked off the shopping chaos of previous Black Fridays.

While I have opined in the past about the importance of shopping locally, I also realize that nearby metro retail hubs like Riverchase Galleria, The Summit and Brookwood Village offer too many amenities to be ignored. That’s why the recent news of the Jasper Square redevelopment featuring TJ Maxx and Hobby Lobby is so important.

Perhaps by this time next year these retail newcomers and maybe a couple new restaurants will entice more people to avoid the congested 40-minute jaunt to Birmingham during the holiday shopping season.

In the meantime, the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County is again offering the best “Shop Local” promotion. The Chamber Checks campaign is a win-win for the consumers and local business.

Chamber Checks is a unique program designed to encourage people to shop at home, and pump money back into our local economy. The checks, which come in $10 increments, can be used for many purchasing needs, such as Christmas gifts, groceries, power bills, medical services, clothing, dinner out, car repairs and even a newspaper subscription.

Chamber Checks may be used at more than 200 chamber-member businesses. Just go to for a complete list of participating businesses. The checks must be used within 90 days.

These checks spend just like cash. They are great for special occasions. And during this time of year, businesses can give them out as holiday gifts. The checks are distributed in a nice information brochure, explaining how the program works and where the recipient may redeem their Chamber Checks.

The checks include the dollar amount ($10) and the name of the company giving the check.

The Daily Mountain Eagle supports the Chamber Check program as an active member of the Chamber of Commerce. And for the past two holidays, we have promoted the program by giving the Chamber Checks as holiday gifts to our employees.

Meanwhile, following are my top five reasons to shop locally:

•Money spent here stays here. If residents of Walker County would transition just 10 percent of their out-of-county retail spending to in-county spending, Walker County businesses would gain more than $3 million in sales.

Jobs and wages. Supporting local businesses provides support to the jobs they offer.

Local business owners invest in our community. Local businesses are owned or managed by people who live and work in our communities, raising their families and investing in our communities’ futures. They support our churches, our schools, our organizations and our quality of life.

Convenience equals savings. Shopping locally saves you time and money. A shopping trip outside our county costs you for every mile you drive, each way, and valuable time away from your home.

Friends and neighbors. Local businesses employ local residents, your friends and neighbors.

Live here. Buy here. Thrive here.

Jack McNeely is Publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and can be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at