I originally posted this piece on another blog but it’s a good message and bears repeating.
As you plan your holiday shopping this year don’t forget to frequent your small businesses as much as possible.
After all – we need to feel the love, and we need YOU.
Do you shop small businesses? Whether it is retail, service oriented, an exercise facility or an eating establishment – are you a proponent of helping families support themselves and their employees by supporting their business?
Or do you automatically run to the big guys for your needs and wants?
If you do support small businesses, than thank you! So much! If it’s not something you’ve given much thought to then I implore you….before making your next purchase – whether it is dining, lawn care, working out or shopping for ‘stuff’ – please stop, and take a moment to consider the services and goods your local small business can offer.
You see, I belong to one of those families. My husband, Ronald, and his brother, Gary own a retail store in our town. In fact, we are very proud that it is the oldest business in our city and not too long ago celebrated the 50th anniversary of its humble beginnings. But, in this day and age with the fierce competition of larger national retailers the success of our entrepreneurship is in danger of faltering.
Are you surprised? I’m sure it’s possible. After all, there is a general misconception that people who own long-term businesses that have grown through the years must be rolling in the dough. The reality is we are just like most middle-class families. We have a comfortable life, but we are struggling with a tough economy that continues to throw zingers as we try to get ahead. The ever-increasing and high cost of goods, the ridiculous cost of health insurance today – don’t even get me started on the ‘affordable’ health care act – along with the fierce competition from big box stores is taking a toll on our ability to succeed.
So, what services and goods does our particular business offer? We sell flooring and appliances and have a service department to help you when those items give you fits. They can also help you with a variety of remodel jobs for kitchens. Did you even know that? Are you aware all of this is offered right here in your very own ‘neighborhood’? (And if you don’t live in my area of Texas then apply these words to the small businesses that are also trying to make a buck wherever it is that you live.)
So why are we struggling? It’s a good question and one we are trying to answer and resolve with a variety of new strategies.
A big reason – in our case, at least – is sometimes the population doesn’t realize our business even exists. Sometimes that’s the fault of the owner – lack of or poor advertising certainly won’t help the community appreciate all you have to offer. And, sometimes the reality is people just don’t pay attention. Being located in what used to be the hub of Allen the construction of a new main thoroughfare (many many moons ago) means our physical location is seen by much less traffic. There are tons of people in town who don’t even know we are here. Attempting to overcome that obstacle, we have invested a large amount of income to advertise in and around town. Including in the Allen Eagle stadium as so many people attend Friday night football games.
Another big reason…..people assume our prices are going to be higher, they won’t be able to find a good deal or we won’t offer same-as-cash financing.
But, it’s not true.
Any extras you find with a large retailer we will also offer. We are quite capable of competing with the big boys on their prices and often, we can even beat them.
Let’s look at the reasons why you should shop with us:
1. Again….first & foremost – Our prices and selections are competitive with the big boys.
2. Our sales team is going to offer you the expertise and a level of service that you will not find at Home Depot, Lowe’s or Nebraska Furniture Mart. Period. Our employee’s knowledge of the merchandise we sell is going to be more extensive, and you will find our sales team is genuinely interested in helping you find the best product to meet your particular situation. Each one of our associates understands that by making you happy and keeping you satisfied we are helping the business to succeed which translates into job security.
3. But, if, God forbid, you have a problem or an issue that has left you dissatisfied then the associate helping you is going to have a direct line to the owner. And, I promise you, Gary and Ronald WILL return your calls and work to resolve any issues that may occur.
4. Being a small, family-owned business, I admit that our hours are not as long or as extensive as a larger retailer. We are not open late and we are not open on Sundays. Again though, because your business is important to us we will work around that obstacle for you. If you cannot come in during regular open times then you can contact us and we will do our best to accommodate your schedule.
5. When you come in – or call – repeat customers can find out when each of their items was purchased and/or repaired. Whatever information you may need on whatever items you bought or work you had done – all of that history is available with the click of a button.
6. We service what we sell. You don’t have to worry about looking around for a third-party repairman if something goes on the fritz. You bought it from us and we will work to get it fixed. Again…..see #2.
7. As a small business, we remain resolved to giving back to our community. Keeping your tax dollars local and buying from ‘mom & pop’ stores helps us to keep paying it forward by employing our neighbors and supporting causes that directly benefit our town.
8. We are also committed to supporting other small businesses in our city. We want them to succeed as much as we want to succeed. After all, small businesses are the backbone of this great country in which we live, right? No matter what the service or dining options being offered or the goods being sold, America has a historically successful middle class because of the small business owner.
So I’m asking you – wherever you live – please look for and shop at the small companies that make up the fabric of your community. Give us a chance to help you and give you a better experience then you’ll get with a large company. Seriously, it doesn’t cost anything to check us out and see what you’ve been missing. And, if we can’t find what you need or get what you want than those big chain stores are just down the road.
Come see us. We need YOUR business to stay in business. Oh – and tell your friends too. 🙂