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Alibi Ike

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...lose your community. This was reprinted in a tourism newsletter:
By Melyn Johnson
Just recently in conversation someone told me that they purchased their insurance
online. Ouch. That really hurt. Biting my tongue is what hurt. The inclination for me
to pull out the soap box, climb atop the box, and deliver a personal opinion was
strong. But I maintained self-control. Until now.
Online? Really? The very thought gives me heartburn.
Saturday my grandson (and many other people’s children and grandchildren)
played two games on the Kid’s Inc. league. Not a single one of those teams had an
online business on the shirts.
The day before, the Ag Appreciation Day was held, an education opportunity for
our farmers and ranchers (including a free meal). There were several local insurance
agencies that had paid the money for booths and were present. None of them were
online agencies.
On Saturday at the Women in Ag conference, there was Phil and Dianna Brown
in attendance. No online companies that I saw.
Let’s let the imagination run to that tree branch falling on your roof and causing
damage to your house and car. It’s easy to just call up Phil and Dianna (or Warner
and Roger McKinnon or Ken Lane). Good luck on calling that online group. And
don’t whine to me when you find out how it’s working for you.
Whew. I think the soap box can be put up now on that subject.
Wait, though. Before putting it up let me address shopping in your hometown.
Every morning when you wake up you want water to flow out of your faucet. You
want your toilet to flush by simply pulling down that handle. You want your streets
paved, your trash picked up, your street light giving off light so you don’t trip getting
to your car. You want a swimming pool where you kids can go all day for just a little
bit of money. You want a park with playground equipment for them to play or have
their birthday party. You want a golf course so your spouse can be gone for a few
hours on the weekend. You decide to do genealogy research and begin using the
public library and want research materials. You want. You want. You want.
Don’t act like you don’t know where the money comes from to provide all of that.
A minute part of it is the fees, but in our Oklahoma towns it is primarily sales tax
dollars.
How would you like to call the City Manager and tell him about a pot hole on
your street that you want fixed and him say, “Sorry, our street crew is working on
streets in Amarillo today.” Take a deep breath. You brought it on yourself.
When you choose where to buy your groceries think about who provided those
buns free at your last Sunday School picnic. Think about who bought ads in your
school yearbook so your kids could have an affordable memory of their school
years.
When you’re buying a car, try to remember if the place you’re buying your car
(or washer or dryer or furniture) bought an animal at the stock show. Or if they donated
to your prom party. Or bought the scoreboard at your school. We might even
remember who buys the radio time so you can listen to area teams in the playoffs.
Now, don’t be throwing out exceptions as excuses. Sure, it’s a fact you can’t get
everything in your hometown. That’s not what we’re talking about. As a point, to
heck with any excuses at all. Just thoughts to ponder. You say you save some money
… but I wonder just how much of that $3 gasoline it takes to save those dollars.
And how many hours it took you to drive to and from that other town.
When there are medical emergencies and traumatic events, who steps up and
helps out? Hometown zip codes is my guess.
Who buys the tickets to your school and community plays? Who buys the FFA
top hands? Who pays for all that expensive candy and other stuff your golf team is
selling as a fund raiser? It’s always people who own or work for people who are in
business in or near your hometown.
It’s time to stop going into places just for a handout. Think about where you’re
going and why. There is nothing wrong with going to other towns, no. But consider
what you expect from local merchants and be economically smart. Sometimes when
you’re saving a dollar, you could lose much more.
And while you’re thinking, tell those folks that do provide jobs in your hometown,
that do pay the taxes that helps keep water running through your faucet, that do
hold up your community events … tell them thank you. I appreciate our community
supporters every time you give to our kids, our school, our community events, our
civic groups. You’re what keeps us alive.
Time to put the soap box away.
See you on the bricks.
Melyn Johnson is the Main Street Manager in Guymon, Oklahoma.
 

JBloggs

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I will add 80-90% of the revenue from any family owned small business goes back into the community.
I am done beating the gong about that around here, all they want is donation donation donation and give ZERO thought to how much we already BRING IN with business from out of towners. If anything B&B's should be given the KEY TO THEIR CITY/TOWN! I am serious. Locals don't shop for big ticket items and local gift shops, the out of towners do! They pay and have little impact as they do not use local services - like schools, etc. They should hand out keys to the city!
BTW One of the insurance I have, we have had here locally for 8 years, he is 5 blocks away and have YET to meet the insurance man. I get SPAM emails from his corporate office telling me "Tips" on how to file my taxes...DONE ALREADY.
 

gillumhouse

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I will add 80-90% of the revenue from any family owned small business goes back into the community.
I am done beating the gong about that around here, all they want is donation donation donation and give ZERO thought to how much we already BRING IN with business from out of towners. If anything B&B's should be given the KEY TO THEIR CITY/TOWN! I am serious. Locals don't shop for big ticket items and local gift shops, the out of towners do! They pay and have little impact as they do not use local services - like schools, etc. They should hand out keys to the city!
BTW One of the insurance I have, we have had here locally for 8 years, he is 5 blocks away and have YET to meet the insurance man. I get SPAM emails from his corporate office telling me "Tips" on how to file my taxes...DONE ALREADY..
I totally agree. Early on, I was beating the bushes for prizes for a local event. Went to the Pizza shop and she asked, "What are you wanting?" I replied, "I am begging, whatever you wish to give." She gave us coupons for a couple pizzas, but she told me there were some who came in and said they wanted 10 pizzas. This is a small Mom & Pop. They know they got payback - they deliver enough pizzas to my place that all we have to do is tell the guests, tell them the B & B.
I just finished 3 more biz coupons for the book for my guests. Several more to visit and do.. Then I start on the new residents version.
Our ON TRAC (precursor to Main Street) is selling cups. I put a photo into one of my What is Happening e-mails to an old guy in Ohio who forwards them to his list. Got a check today from a lady for 2 cups! Yeehaa!!! Checks are made out to the City - I pack em up and the City mails it (postage was added into the cost);.
 

Samster

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I agree with this....to a point.
I tried to totally support local businesses when I had the biz. When you can't get service, you have to go elsewhere. When the lack of service is accompanied by twice the price for the same goods, you have to re-think your spending habits. If the quality of a product is sub-par, you have to look elsewhere. Then, add in the equation here in particular that they are behind the times in terms of many of the goods that you can purchase, well...that's another fly in the ointment. Local businesses have to keep up with the times!
A good example here is a local biz that sells large appliances - sometimes you can't wait a week for a refrigerator that is almost twice the price!
Many of our franchise and "chain" businesses are indeed locally owned, so I don't rule out using a recognizable brand. There are lots of local businesses that I support because they give back to our community and cross promote other local businesses. There are others that are only out to make a buck for themselves while gouging their customers. It's really no difference than the big guys sometimes.
Oh, and btw - the "local" people here that own some of the auto gas distribution companies are the absolute worse in price gouging.
All this to say that it's sometimes just not as simple as saying that it's imperative to always buy "local".
 

Joey Camb

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what makes me cross with local businesses sometimes is the customer service I know they can't always compete on price like the big boys but customer service is free they should be blowing them out of the water.
 

JBloggs

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Back to HOSPITALITY and CUSTOMER SERVICE 101. If they had any they would OF COURSE get all our business!! We would use local as much as possible. It is a two way street, PROVIDE SERVICE and we will PAY YOU. It is like going the way of the dinosaurs now...
 

Joey Camb

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But that is one of my points! in a recession you have to compete on every front that you can! I was at the committee meeting of our B&B and Guest house association (I have just joined the committee) and nearly had my jaw fall open at what was said! My friend Tabs is also on the committee and has a guest house further up the same street. It is had to explain but we are in a terrace (ie all share adjoining walls) of about 10 house to get to the parking at the back you can only get behind the houses from one end (the other end has no accessand she is at that far end) and then to get into the guest house you either have to walk through her kitchen from the back or walk all the way round the terrace which would with bags take about 7 mins. So tabs was complaining she feels she has to keep the kitchen tidy as they have to pop through (she doesn't let them through during breakfast service) and the other committee memebers were like "oh you should just never let them through its tough even if its raining" I am not an advocate of letting guests wander about willy nilly but surley there is a balance to be struck? one of the members won't even answer the door till check in time its tough (ie to anyone)
 

Red Handed Jill

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Re the original post: When we can use a local merchant, we do. I like being able to look the person in the eye that I'm doing business with.
But, I've also been burned by the local <whatever> who thought s/he was the only game in town. Sometimes in life, you only get one chance. Maybe a second, if you make an honest effort to make things right. But if not, you can go ahead and put your name on the kids' little league uniforms, but I need someone *I* can rely on when it comes to running my business. Even if I only ever deal with that person online or on the phone.
 

Alibi Ike

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Re the original post: When we can use a local merchant, we do. I like being able to look the person in the eye that I'm doing business with.
But, I've also been burned by the local <whatever> who thought s/he was the only game in town. Sometimes in life, you only get one chance. Maybe a second, if you make an honest effort to make things right. But if not, you can go ahead and put your name on the kids' little league uniforms, but I need someone *I* can rely on when it comes to running my business. Even if I only ever deal with that person online or on the phone..
Red Handed Jill said:
Re the original post: When we can use a local merchant, we do. I like being able to look the person in the eye that I'm doing business with.
But, I've also been burned by the local <whatever> who thought s/he was the only game in town. Sometimes in life, you only get one chance. Maybe a second, if you make an honest effort to make things right. But if not, you can go ahead and put your name on the kids' little league uniforms, but I need someone *I* can rely on when it comes to running my business. Even if I only ever deal with that person online or on the phone.
I wrote this up earlier and then deleted it- we went to a brand name discounter to look at wood floors. We then went to a bigger, local place and decided wed' work with them as they seemed to have better flooring at the same price as the discounter. Both places treated us very well while we looked around.
When we called to place the order at the local shop, the guy we had spoken with was out of town but they assured us he would call and take our order as he knew exactly what we wanted and needed. We placed the order a few days later. We HAD to pay for it completely in advance, including the delivery fee. We had to call a second time to be sure they ordered trim molding. Today they called and said our order was in and we could pick it up any time. We explained we PAID for delivery, in ADVANCE. No record. Also no record of the order for the trim pieces. They were supposed to get ordered at the same time so we got the same finish color.
We went to the store THREE times as well as calling.
They know they are not even close to the only game in town!
OTOH, I went to order a lockset for my door on Tuesday. Around here they only stock the ones that the guests can fiddle with. And fiddle they do, but the lock resets itself after 10 seconds and they're locked out complaining that they 'turned the lock to unlock the door so they wouldn't have to use the key.' (We explain the door is locked all the time.) Anyhoo, I found what I wanted online, free shipping. Put the lockset in the shopping cart and was charged for shipping. Called the company, they gave me a free shipping code, completed the order and I had it on Wednesday before noon. Overnight. Free shipping.
But I had to pay $4000 in advance for flooring, all of which wasn't ordered at the same time and I had to pay for shipping to my door which they forgot I paid for.
I have a new bed coming in a few weeks as well. Made to order. Local company. Free delivery and they'll take away the old mattress as well. Free pick up and delivery and repairs if there's a problem. If the bed is destroyed they'll relace it for 50% of the original price. 20% off because I belong to the state innkeeper's assoc. The pieces are wrapped and they will do the whole setup for me, including, as we've done in the past, take the old mattress and move it to another room and then take THAT mattress and dispose of it. Free. Last time they actually set MY bed up for me even tho they delivered a mattress to the INN. They'll wait while I put the bedskirt on and line it up. All I do is call and say I want the same thing I got last time and then I call back when I'm ready for them to deliver it. Usually I can have it in 2-3 days from the original call.
Some places get it, some don't. I tell ALL of my guests where to buy the mattresses when they tell me they've never slept so well. And a few have called me to say they don't know what model to get so I tell them to just ask for the same kind we order. (I should be getting a kickback, I think!)
 

gillumhouse

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When we were going to replace our furnace our first year here, we took bids. We als decided that f the local guy was within $500 of low bid (in case he was not low) we would go with him. I do not remember if he was low, but we did go with the local guy (2 blocks away). Best decision I ever made. If I call they come ASAP and if I say I have guests or it is an emergency they come NOW!
 

Copperhead

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We do shop local when we can. I agree with those that state it is mostly service - or lack of - that make us shop on line or neighboring cities.
We were just discussing this very thing today and named a good dozen local businesses that we will never, I repeat never, darken their doors again. We have been in several of this shops, looked around waiting for someone to help us, but no one bothers to walk the few steps, or turns their backs when we approach. These are small businesses, folks! Don't they NEED business in order to stay open?
Then there are those that price themselves out of range. Recently we were in the market for a new pool liner. First stop was to the company that installed the pool. Here's our price and if you want us to do it you better hurry as we will not have time in a few weeks. We got another couple of quotes as well and also priced the purchase of the liner online. All the quotes had the installation charges about the same, it was the liner cost that was different in each. And why? We were compairing apples to apples - same exact liner. We ended up purchasing online and saving between 550-850 depending on the company. We had some friends that own a pool company in another city come in to do the work as they were not busy at the time. It worked out well. Sorry locals lost out, but that is a chunk of change! I don't mind paying a little more for GOOD local service!
And lets not get into the INS rates if I used a local company!
Now where's my glass of wine!
 

Joey Camb

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We have a little hardwear shop literally round the corner from us where they are super helpful (especially when I go in and say I need a thingmy that attaches to a jobby whatsit) they are never partonising and sometimes suggest a better/cheaper option. They also do a range of free soup/tea/coffee while you wait (they have various warhouses etc and do a lot of business with large places so it is a nice perk while they pack up your order) Then up the road we (4 mins walk) we have Becks electrical which does appliances and all sorts of weird bulbs and things and a nice tool shop next door to that (it was a good move on the tool shop's part as they are newer and they are compliamentry businesses) so I shop there all the time. we also use a local auction and the last big thing we bought they delivered free and set up for us they are really cool there. We used to play with their dog but some gimp rang the council and said the dog was a health and safety issue and people could trip on it so now it can't be with them at work. Some people blatently do not have enough to do! Also we have made friends with a good carpet person who this year has set up his own shop so we try and patronise him where we can (its not difficult as he is the best price in town) and send other people his way. Nice chaps doing the work they said they would when they said they would makes a change doesn't it?
 

white pine

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We do shop local when we can. I agree with those that state it is mostly service - or lack of - that make us shop on line or neighboring cities.
We were just discussing this very thing today and named a good dozen local businesses that we will never, I repeat never, darken their doors again. We have been in several of this shops, looked around waiting for someone to help us, but no one bothers to walk the few steps, or turns their backs when we approach. These are small businesses, folks! Don't they NEED business in order to stay open?
Then there are those that price themselves out of range. Recently we were in the market for a new pool liner. First stop was to the company that installed the pool. Here's our price and if you want us to do it you better hurry as we will not have time in a few weeks. We got another couple of quotes as well and also priced the purchase of the liner online. All the quotes had the installation charges about the same, it was the liner cost that was different in each. And why? We were compairing apples to apples - same exact liner. We ended up purchasing online and saving between 550-850 depending on the company. We had some friends that own a pool company in another city come in to do the work as they were not busy at the time. It worked out well. Sorry locals lost out, but that is a chunk of change! I don't mind paying a little more for GOOD local service!
And lets not get into the INS rates if I used a local company!
Now where's my glass of wine!.
As a former retailer, I can explain why a small business may charge more for the same product. They PAY more for it. It was always a challenge to find a product I could sell for a full mark-up. I would find something and be told it would NOT be in the big box stores, then find it there for LESS THAN WHAT I PAID !! OTOH, sometimes I could sell products at a full mark-up for less than what the big stores sold it for "on sale".
We did give REALLY good service. ButI learned some want alll the service, and demand a discount price to go with it. I am seeing this here in the threads about discounted rooms. Very disturbing.
 

seashanty

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We have a little hardwear shop literally round the corner from us where they are super helpful (especially when I go in and say I need a thingmy that attaches to a jobby whatsit) they are never partonising and sometimes suggest a better/cheaper option. They also do a range of free soup/tea/coffee while you wait (they have various warhouses etc and do a lot of business with large places so it is a nice perk while they pack up your order) Then up the road we (4 mins walk) we have Becks electrical which does appliances and all sorts of weird bulbs and things and a nice tool shop next door to that (it was a good move on the tool shop's part as they are newer and they are compliamentry businesses) so I shop there all the time. we also use a local auction and the last big thing we bought they delivered free and set up for us they are really cool there. We used to play with their dog but some gimp rang the council and said the dog was a health and safety issue and people could trip on it so now it can't be with them at work. Some people blatently do not have enough to do! Also we have made friends with a good carpet person who this year has set up his own shop so we try and patronise him where we can (its not difficult as he is the best price in town) and send other people his way. Nice chaps doing the work they said they would when they said they would makes a change doesn't it?.
i like the 3/50 project
http://www.the350project.net/home.html
you pick three independently owned shops or businesses that you would really miss ... and shop there. trying to spend $50 per month in those 3 businesses to help keep them in business.
i will spend a little more to support locals if they give me great service. if their prices are a lot more, maybe i just can't. but, yes, i am loyal to some online stores ... that's life today.
 

Alibi Ike

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We have a little hardwear shop literally round the corner from us where they are super helpful (especially when I go in and say I need a thingmy that attaches to a jobby whatsit) they are never partonising and sometimes suggest a better/cheaper option. They also do a range of free soup/tea/coffee while you wait (they have various warhouses etc and do a lot of business with large places so it is a nice perk while they pack up your order) Then up the road we (4 mins walk) we have Becks electrical which does appliances and all sorts of weird bulbs and things and a nice tool shop next door to that (it was a good move on the tool shop's part as they are newer and they are compliamentry businesses) so I shop there all the time. we also use a local auction and the last big thing we bought they delivered free and set up for us they are really cool there. We used to play with their dog but some gimp rang the council and said the dog was a health and safety issue and people could trip on it so now it can't be with them at work. Some people blatently do not have enough to do! Also we have made friends with a good carpet person who this year has set up his own shop so we try and patronise him where we can (its not difficult as he is the best price in town) and send other people his way. Nice chaps doing the work they said they would when they said they would makes a change doesn't it?.
i like the 3/50 project
http://www.the350project.net/home.html
you pick three independently owned shops or businesses that you would really miss ... and shop there. trying to spend $50 per month in those 3 businesses to help keep them in business.
i will spend a little more to support locals if they give me great service. if their prices are a lot more, maybe i just can't. but, yes, i am loyal to some online stores ... that's life today.
.
I will pick my 3 favs- 2 wine shops and a deli and go with them! We can see most definitely one little shop we like being literally squeezed out. They do sandwiches, ice cream, drinks, snacks. 2 years ago a pizza/sandwich/drinks place opened on one side of them. This year a candy/ice cream store opened on the other side of them. This place has been there over 100 years (first as a little grocery store). It's a real locals kind of place. I am waiting to see where the Little Leaguers go for their celebratory after-game ice cream this summer.
 

Copperhead

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We do shop local when we can. I agree with those that state it is mostly service - or lack of - that make us shop on line or neighboring cities.
We were just discussing this very thing today and named a good dozen local businesses that we will never, I repeat never, darken their doors again. We have been in several of this shops, looked around waiting for someone to help us, but no one bothers to walk the few steps, or turns their backs when we approach. These are small businesses, folks! Don't they NEED business in order to stay open?
Then there are those that price themselves out of range. Recently we were in the market for a new pool liner. First stop was to the company that installed the pool. Here's our price and if you want us to do it you better hurry as we will not have time in a few weeks. We got another couple of quotes as well and also priced the purchase of the liner online. All the quotes had the installation charges about the same, it was the liner cost that was different in each. And why? We were compairing apples to apples - same exact liner. We ended up purchasing online and saving between 550-850 depending on the company. We had some friends that own a pool company in another city come in to do the work as they were not busy at the time. It worked out well. Sorry locals lost out, but that is a chunk of change! I don't mind paying a little more for GOOD local service!
And lets not get into the INS rates if I used a local company!
Now where's my glass of wine!.
As a former retailer, I can explain why a small business may charge more for the same product. They PAY more for it. It was always a challenge to find a product I could sell for a full mark-up. I would find something and be told it would NOT be in the big box stores, then find it there for LESS THAN WHAT I PAID !! OTOH, sometimes I could sell products at a full mark-up for less than what the big stores sold it for "on sale".
We did give REALLY good service. ButI learned some want alll the service, and demand a discount price to go with it. I am seeing this here in the threads about discounted rooms. Very disturbing.
.
No, maybe I didn't get my point acrossed. I really understand why small businesses charge more - WE too charge more because we pay more for things! The example of the pool liner was the EXCESSive goudging on the local companies part AS WELL as the lack of wanting the work even at that price - this is what they do for a living.
We did not go in asking for a special rate or discount, we asked for their quote. The couple that came in to do this work for us stated the prices that were quoted for the liner - not the labor were far beyond reasonable and being that we were doing this in their slow season (winter) you would think they would be at least fair with their prices. This couple under priced their service and we gave them a good bonus, above what was quoted in the local business quotes for the same service.
The biggest point I wanted to make was the lack of service we find at local places. I guess it hits us more because service IS our business, it is what sets us apart from the big boxes. If I go into a Home Depot, I am greeted near the door "can I help you find something?" and then once in the isle another "finding everything you need?" Then go to a local bath/kitchen place and get snubbed, and when asked a question they reply as though you asked them what is the meaning of life. They were in business long before Home Depot was even thought of, they developed the mindset that they could be this way because they were the ONLY one in town, you had to shop there. This mindset is so imbeded in some businesses around here that it will be their demise.
 

JBloggs

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Okay, this is obvious, we live in these communities, obv we use the services and shop locally for MOST of what we use in our businesses. Big ticket items, like a furnace etc would be silly to not buy and install locally.
But when it comes to insurance and towels and linens, I shop where I get the most for my money and best quality. Simple. I AM ALSO a business, I ALSO need to survive. I turn ALL MY TAX MONEY BACK TO THIS TOWN. I pay taxes to this town and county. I shop in this town and county. I buy gas in this town and county. I am shopping locally.
I will however go to NC to buy a car where they provide service and not "I have no idea" like our local car dealer schmucks! I will tell them, step up or lose our business. They choose to lose business. I would 100% prefer to not drive 3 hours each way to look at vehicles, but the local dealer is horrid, the antithesis of good service.
 

JBloggs

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PS sorry...this is one of my peeves...we have a hardware store at the end of our street. I love old hardware stores, I love that they have a fall-out shelter in the basement. and yet, for 7+ years they have never said HELLO OR THANK YOU, we run down for a small this or that.
We shop at Lowes. We are thankful for Lowes, VERY thankful it has much of what we need. We still pay taxes on the porducts back into our community and we still have locals employed at Lowes...
Listen, this is what I say...with this economic down turn many of the businesses who should NOT be in business are going out of business. It is their decision (I am speaking from a service stand point ONLY). Restaurants that fail, will fail with in the first year.
Glean out the crappy businesses who do not provide service, or they can step up and provide service and have LOYAL CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE.
 

Alibi Ike

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Okay, this is obvious, we live in these communities, obv we use the services and shop locally for MOST of what we use in our businesses. Big ticket items, like a furnace etc would be silly to not buy and install locally.
But when it comes to insurance and towels and linens, I shop where I get the most for my money and best quality. Simple. I AM ALSO a business, I ALSO need to survive. I turn ALL MY TAX MONEY BACK TO THIS TOWN. I pay taxes to this town and county. I shop in this town and county. I buy gas in this town and county. I am shopping locally.
I will however go to NC to buy a car where they provide service and not "I have no idea" like our local car dealer schmucks! I will tell them, step up or lose our business. They choose to lose business. I would 100% prefer to not drive 3 hours each way to look at vehicles, but the local dealer is horrid, the antithesis of good service..
That's the other side. We shop in town as much as we can. Our insurance, accountant, lawyer are all in another town, but they're not out of state. We eat at the local restaurants. I buy most of my clothes right in town. The plumber is in town. The lawn person is a local. (Not in this town.)
How many of them send their relatives here to stay or even mention us as a place to stay should anyone ask them? It is definitely not reciprocal. We invite people to stop over all the time to have a look (to allay their fears of the unknown before they send a relative here!)
Someone wanted me to keep their brochures for their biz here but stated they would never stay at a place like mine because we charge too much. So I have the brochures but if someone asks me where to get that service I tell them someplace else.
 

gillumhouse

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We do shop local when we can. I agree with those that state it is mostly service - or lack of - that make us shop on line or neighboring cities.
We were just discussing this very thing today and named a good dozen local businesses that we will never, I repeat never, darken their doors again. We have been in several of this shops, looked around waiting for someone to help us, but no one bothers to walk the few steps, or turns their backs when we approach. These are small businesses, folks! Don't they NEED business in order to stay open?
Then there are those that price themselves out of range. Recently we were in the market for a new pool liner. First stop was to the company that installed the pool. Here's our price and if you want us to do it you better hurry as we will not have time in a few weeks. We got another couple of quotes as well and also priced the purchase of the liner online. All the quotes had the installation charges about the same, it was the liner cost that was different in each. And why? We were compairing apples to apples - same exact liner. We ended up purchasing online and saving between 550-850 depending on the company. We had some friends that own a pool company in another city come in to do the work as they were not busy at the time. It worked out well. Sorry locals lost out, but that is a chunk of change! I don't mind paying a little more for GOOD local service!
And lets not get into the INS rates if I used a local company!
Now where's my glass of wine!.
As a former retailer, I can explain why a small business may charge more for the same product. They PAY more for it. It was always a challenge to find a product I could sell for a full mark-up. I would find something and be told it would NOT be in the big box stores, then find it there for LESS THAN WHAT I PAID !! OTOH, sometimes I could sell products at a full mark-up for less than what the big stores sold it for "on sale".
We did give REALLY good service. ButI learned some want alll the service, and demand a discount price to go with it. I am seeing this here in the threads about discounted rooms. Very disturbing.
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No, maybe I didn't get my point acrossed. I really understand why small businesses charge more - WE too charge more because we pay more for things! The example of the pool liner was the EXCESSive goudging on the local companies part AS WELL as the lack of wanting the work even at that price - this is what they do for a living.
We did not go in asking for a special rate or discount, we asked for their quote. The couple that came in to do this work for us stated the prices that were quoted for the liner - not the labor were far beyond reasonable and being that we were doing this in their slow season (winter) you would think they would be at least fair with their prices. This couple under priced their service and we gave them a good bonus, above what was quoted in the local business quotes for the same service.
The biggest point I wanted to make was the lack of service we find at local places. I guess it hits us more because service IS our business, it is what sets us apart from the big boxes. If I go into a Home Depot, I am greeted near the door "can I help you find something?" and then once in the isle another "finding everything you need?" Then go to a local bath/kitchen place and get snubbed, and when asked a question they reply as though you asked them what is the meaning of life. They were in business long before Home Depot was even thought of, they developed the mindset that they could be this way because they were the ONLY one in town, you had to shop there. This mindset is so imbeded in some businesses around here that it will be their demise.
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And that is what I was trying to say - the service is there. Our downtown is starting to come back - because the new shops understand that people want acknowledgement and service. The big box stores started the "no service necessary if you cut prices" mentality and even they are discovering that people have finally awakened and are missing the service. That is why Big Box is now saying good morning and can we help you. I think some of the smal Ma & Pa shops are still there because the owners bought the building long ago and do not know what else they would do with the day if they closed. This routine of get up and go to the shop is a part of their "being" and they have given up being viable against Wally & his world. Wally can SELL for less than Ma & Pa can buy @ wholesale.
 
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