It seems that everywhere you turn these days, there is a Subway sandwich shop boasting its latest promotion. Subway is quickly becoming the Starbucks of the sandwich industry, popping up every 20 yards, emanating that familiar bread and onion aroma.
Now, I’ll admit I’ve enjoyed a $5 foot-long on occasion. And I appreciate the services and jobs Subway and other businesses provide to our community. There is a difference, however, between sitting at your everyday corporate-owned lunch stop and nestling into the corner booth in a little café or sandwich shop found only in Abilene.
Students overlook many family or locally owned restaurants in Abilene every day. Most don’t realize what they’re missing – that is, until they spend a few hours on the couch with an endless cup of coffee from Monks coffee shop or try an “El Gato” Southwestern sandwich from AlleyCats.
Restaurants aren’t Abilene’s only secret. Last year, I had a locally owned auto body shop change my oil – I promise, I’ve had it changed since then – and the workers were attentive, friendly and honest people that seemed genuinely thankful for my patronage. I was charged less than I would have been at a corporate chain, and they chatted with me while they worked on my car. They even honored a coupon I had received a year before that gave me an incredible discount.Other locally owned businesses offer student discounts and special offers that make their services reasonable for students with low budgets. I’m not about to advertise the weekly special at Joe’s Pizza, but students should take the time to look into what these small businesses can offer.
Students should support small businesses for support’s sake, not just for the homey atmosphere and good, well-priced service. I began working at a family-owned Italian restaurant my first week in Abilene, and they have been my faithful employers for two years.Â I go home every summer knowing my job will be waiting for me when I return the next semester.
Students make up a large percentage of the population of Abilene, so they play a prominent role in providing income for every business in the city.
In the midst of the recession, almost every business is struggling. Of course, a college student’s budget is usually suffering no matter how the economy is doing, but we all enjoy eating out with friends after church or between classes once in a while. Next time you are in need of a tuneup or craving a good burger, try out an Abilene exclusive. You’ll get a great meal or service, support hard-working people that have been serving the Abilene community for years and probably have an experience that can beat a foot-long sub any day.