ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Some locally owned restaurants face quite a challenge in just keeping their doors open. Pair that with competition from the larger established chains, and the odds are even less in their favor. That’s where the Abilene chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) is stepping in.

“All of those chains have their base and their backbone. This is ours,” says Abilene TRA Vice President and Co-owner of The Local Gabriel Stokes.

Statewide, the TRA advocates for and provides resources to Texas restaurants. The Abilene chapter is hoping to bring that model to their city.

“The Abilene chapter of the TRA has been inactive for about a couple of years, and so this is really, like I said, this is our first annual event that we’re going to be having. We hope it’s going to be a cornerstone event that we have every year,” Stokes says.

The chapter’s Tuesday night fundraiser will fund their efforts to help out their members, covering certification and training costs, and providing restaurant essentials to local owners.

“TABC certifications, serve safe certifications, nonslip shoes, stuff like that,” says Stokes.

Stokes says as a local restaurant owner, he appreciates the community and perspective the chapter can provide, and he hopes others will benefit as he has.

“A group of other restaurateurs where I could come into a room and say, ‘Hey I got my butt kicked on Saturday night at the restaurant, how about y’all? How did y’all get though it, how can we get through it next time?’ If that’s all we accomplish tonight, then that would be enough for me,” says Stokes.