Like many of you, I was shocked when I heard Hibbett Sports had shut the doors to our Breckenridge store.  I had gone down for a meeting at Tractor Supply when I heard the news.  Immediately, I went to see what was going on.  The representative from the corporate office informed me they were closing effective immediately.  Immediately???  I started asking questions. What about the employees? Why did we not receive notification?  Ugh! What about the jacket I bought last week that’s too big that I intended to return?

Losing a business and a chamber member is always hard for a community.  It can be an eye opening experience as well.  How often did YOU buy from Hibbett Sports? How often did you instead go to Abilene for what you needed?  Every time we shop out of town, we hurt our local economy.  We, as consumers, are often the reason businesses close.  This was the case for Hibbett Sports.  Corporate told me that they simply did not get enough business in Breckenridge to be profitable. 

I’m not saying all this to step on toes. I’m guilty as well.  I’ve gone to the big box store to buy kids shoes. But, I do try to shop local first. There have been times I didn’t have time to go somewhere else and it was convenient to get what I needed here.  Many, many, times I have been grateful for local businesses who have saved me when I needed something. (My kids are great at telling me they need something last minute).

We had hometown people, people who support community programs, lose their jobs last week.  That makes me sad.  It makes me sad to see another empty building.  It makes me sad that the community passes blame.  Folks, when you see places close down don’t be shocked if you never set foot in there.  A business cannot survive without the financial support of the community.  I know people get tired of chambers saying “Shop Local”, but if we as consumers don’t shop local…there won’t be anything local.

Special thanks to Rob Durham and his crew at Hibbett’s for their support over the past few years. Rob personally paid Hibbett’s chamber membership and was always eager to participate in community events.