We all want to save money.
Get the most bang for our buck.
We also want to “one-stop” shop.
In the past, people shopped locally. They traded favors. Bartered talents. We lived in a society where you knew the people you bought your groceries from. Where you supported families with a simple purchase. Where you didn’t have to buy an extended warranty to trust that what you bought would work right when you got it home.
I remember as a kid (probably 35 years ago…) shopping my grandmother. She lived in Chicago and we would take the bus to get to some stores, others were in walking distance. I remember the yarn store. Filled wall-to-wall with yarn, and my Grandma talking to the owner. The blankets she made from the yarn. And the “dime store” with the fish tanks and the pink rubber bouncy balls that I always had to have. These experiences will always live with me as special memories that I shared with my Grandmother.
Shopping today is very different
We now have “big box” stores. One-stop shops where you can get anything from beer and TVs to diapers and seafood and everything in between. Hundreds of employees, minimal product knowledge. I doubt too many memories are formed from shopping big box stores. It’s so rushed. No personal interaction. Just a big cold store where the only thing that matters is getting you out the door.
I never used to pay attention to any of this. I went shopping with the aim of getting what I wanted, getting it fast, and getting it for the best price. I didn’t care about building relationships. Customer service. Who was affected by my purchase.
Local small business
My husband and I had always purchased appliances from one of the big mainstream stores. We did it because we got the lowest prices, best selection and fastest delivery. Then on a whim we purchased our new stove from the local appliance store, and what ensued made us think differently about where we shop. First of all, the local store doesn’t carry all the brands. They carry the ones they find have the best track record for quality – which means they don’t carry stuff they constantly have to repair. Second, the guy who delivered our new stove was the brother of the guy who took our order. They own the place. They do their own deliveries and their own installs.
Now, we did have a problem. A couple of weeks after we got the stove, it stopped working and wouldn’t open or turn on. We called the local store and it was almost 5 pm. They asked us if we needed to use the stove tonight, if so, they would come right out. If not, they would come out first thing in the morning. You would NEVER get that kind of immediate response from a chain store. The repair was quick, they found the problem right away, and the owner then proceeded to check the ENTIRE unit to make sure nothing else was wrong.
After checking the stove out, he proceeded to chat with us about life, appliances, our town, and more.
That one experience made us completely re-evaluate our shopping priorities. We liked knowing that the person installing our stove was personally invested in the company. We liked the personal attention. Getting to know the owner and feeling like our business mattered to him. We now make it a point to shop local whenever possible. We like knowing that our dollars are not only going back into the local community, but to people we actually know.
Small Business Saturday
November 24th is Small Business Saturday. This day sits between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and was created to help support small businesses across the globe. I know I will be shopping local on Small Business Saturday!
What is Small Business Saturday®?
Small Business Saturday is a day for everyone — from the business owners who create jobs to the customers who buy locally — to support small businesses that invigorate the economy and keep communities thriving.
It began in 2010 when American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. Last year, over 100 million people came out to shop at independently-owned small businesses on the day. Now, in its third year, Small Business Saturday will be even bigger. American Express is offering free and easy-to-use tools to help small businesses get the most out of the day and tools for consumers to show their support.