Businesses and community offer much to be thankful for

This season of Thanksgiving, we at the Maui Chamber of Commerce are thankful for all businesses for creating jobs, contributing to our community’s and county’s economic health, establishing infrastructure, supporting nonprofits, improving education, demonstrating leadership, being ambassadors of aloha and providing products and services to meet needs and improve people’s lives.

Living on an island, it is important to remember that we are reliant on one another for the well-being of our community and must come together to address the common good. We are extremely thankful for the amazing business owners and the employees we work with who care deeply about Maui’s economy, environment and social well-being (triple bottom line) and who strive to keep Maui no ka oi (the best).

We encourage residents and visitors to “Buy Maui First” this holiday season as a way to be more sustainable. Supporting businesses in Maui County keeps local dollars circulating within our communities and helps grow jobs here. There are many opportunities to find amazing gifts made by local hands and hearts. Your purchase of these products contributes to the viability of our business community and overall sustainability efforts.

Black Friday just ended, but holiday shopping and specials continue. Please make a conscious effort to think about where things made and purchase as many “Made in Maui” items as possible.

Today is also Small Business Saturday, a day to celebrate local businesses. It was originally launched on Nov. 27, 2010, by American Express to create an event between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to encourage people to shop at their local mom-and-pop businesses. Some did not expect the effort to last beyond the first year, however it did and generates more exposure for small businesses on the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

Over the last three years, Small Business Saturday went from an idea to increase sales for small businesses to being a permanent fixture on people’s holiday shopping calendar. Small-business owners are responding and coming up with creative offers that excite and engage their local communities.

Sales during the last two months of the year often provide reserves needed to sustain small businesses during other, low-sales periods throughout the year. Not only do increased holiday sales create more jobs during the holidays (providing opportunities for temporary employment), they help keep current positions in place and create new long-term positions as well. Stop by and shop at your favorite small businesses today. The love and support you show on this day can carry them forward for months and years to come.

And, when Cyber Monday rolls around (a day created by marketing companies to encourage people to shop online), remember to visit the websites of Maui County businesses. They too will have many amazing specials found only online.

For the items we simply don’t make in Hawaii, such as televisions, gaming systems, boomboxes and more, you can have a more positive impact by purchasing these items locally. They may be made abroad, but companies who offer them are providing needed jobs for Maui County residents and incomes for their families.

It takes community, government and businesses working in harmony to sustain Maui Nui. We are thankful to live and raise our families in such a beautiful place, be aligned with so many amazing partners who are committed to improving the triple bottom line, and to sharing the aloha spirit with others. Mahalo nui loa for supporting the business community this holiday season and throughout the year and for working toward winning solutions moving forward.

* Pamela Tumpap is president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce.