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The Chamber is seeking input from the community for our second annual Small Business of the Year award. The Mattoon economy is dependent on small business to thrive and prosper. Small businesses contribute to our local economy by bringing growth and innovation to the community. Small businesses also invest and volunteer in the community's social service agencies and civic functions. Many small business owners participate in local organizations by sponsoring teams, donating to charities, and participating in community events.

Small businesses employ your neighbors, friends and families. 67 percent of jobs in the United States are generated by small businesses based on US Chamber of Commerce statistics. By purchasing from small businesses and using their services you are not only fulfilling your needs, you are supporting the families of the employees of the businesses. Small Business owners and their employees give you the personal attention and quality customer service that you cannot get from a computer screen ordering online. By making purchases from local small businesses, you are assured that your tax dollars will stay local. Online sites do not always collect taxes or when they do there is no guarantee those tax dollars will trickle back down to support our local support services.

The majority of Chamber members and local employers are small businesses that rely on your patronage to be successful. Small businesses’ success equals more local tax dollars, which helps improve schools, helps pay for police, fire protection and other local services, and infrastructure. Downtown Mattoon alone has seen nearly 20 new small businesses take root in the last 3 years. Your support is critical for their continued growth and prosperity.

The Mattoon Chamber is seeking recognition for a local small business that excels in business, customer service and is an integral part of the community. Last year we honored Don Sol Mexican Grill and owners Amanda and Rene Perdomo as our Small Business of The Year. They run a very successful business and are huge supporters of the community and local social service agencies.

The criteria for submission include any small business with less than 100 employees that have their home office located in Mattoon, IL. The award is intended to recognize and celebrate the great business achievements and community involvement of a local small business. The small business to be recognized should also have been of benefit to the community or to society in general. And finally the small business's accomplishments do not need to be confined to a single year but should be recent enough to have current significance. Nomination forms are available to download off of our website at mattoonchamber.com. You can also pick them up at the Chamber office at 1518 Broadway Avenue. The deadline for submission is December 1st. We will honor the winner at our Annual Dinner on February 2, 2019.

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Ed Dowd is the executive director of the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce.

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