Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere. ~Paul Ryan
I’m a pretty practical chick. Truly, I appreciate the area I live in and frequenting the local businesses. When it comes down to it, I am a small town gal. Bricks 4 Kidz, Kyle’s Lego Camp Birthday Surprise, Perfect Gift – The Ugly Quilt With that comes a pride for my area, including the small businesses. This is something we are now trying to teach Kyle. Why? To always ensure our favorite stores are going to be around for years to come and to support our area. Granted, this is not a guarantee due to other circumstances, but it’s a start.
No matter what, let me state I do believe in patronizing local stores and keeping mom and pop shops in business. Granted, sometimes that means slightly higher prices but not always. Everyone always complains about the cost of things, rightfully so in our economical rough times, but it’s not always the case. I agree, paying outrages prices for the same item that could be shipped directly to your house is insane. But a few extra bucks for the store down the street, I don’t really make a big deal about. And believe it or not, sometimes the local stores have cheaper prices and usually better quality.
I too have been guilty of going online or making my purchases at the big old corporations, which there is nothing wrong with. I mean, in most cases, those large corporations started out as something small, the local start-up company. That is the joy of living in a republic, we have options and are free to choose.
What started this dissertation on small businesses? The comic book store Kyle frequents, Westmoreland Gaming, Sportscards & Comics. Yes, his new hang out to play Warmachine. Kyle, being a child of our century, is no stranger to going online to looking things up and to making online purchases. So when he started to get into Warmachine, naturally the kid went to the virtual stores to compare prices with those of the comic book store, especially since he was spending his own money. What did he find? Some prices where a couple bucks cheaper online, nothing drastic.
Nicole had a great idea with respect to this issue. To help the comic book store and Kyle, she actually gives Kyle the difference, so he would continue to patron the comic book store. After all, it’s only right considering he practically lives there now, playing Warmachine with others and getting advice on the game and just plain taking up space. This is our way of showing our appreciation.
Please keep in mind the guys that work at the comic book store, as well as the customers, are so very nice. Truly, going above and beyond helping Kyle out and being very welcoming of our little teenager. Warmachine Tournament They don’t stop there, they are really friendly with mom, Nicole and me too! Mom told me while she was sitting there patiently waiting on Kyle to wrap up his battle the one day, Cody, the store manager offered mom something to drink. Again, well above and beyond, hence the reason for our support. They order items they don’t have stocked, which usually arive within a week, they are friendly and courteous to EVERYONE who walks in the door and it’s a true family establishment. Westmoreland Gaming, Sportscards & Comics tolerate no riff raff or anyone acting in a way that is not conducive to family values and an environment for children.
Appreciation doesn’t always come in the form of money. It can be done in many different ways.
Example, every year mom and I stock up on flowers and plants to decorate the headstones and to plant the garden, respectively. We frequent a small nursery in Derry, Pennsylvania, Orazios. They are a wonderful family business, who are so very nice, not to mention their prices can’t be beat. They also have such great quality plants, flowers and veggies, it would be stupid on our behalf not to purchase from them.
How do we show appreciation for their lower prices, good quality plants and excellent customer service, ultimately their family business? We obviously shop there, but we also simply don’t take anything for granted. To further demonstrate my point, after mom and I go around and plant the headstones, we don’t discard the plastic containers. Yes, those thin plastic containers that hold either four or six plants, plus the plastic flats that hold all the plants. Nope, we don’t like to waste anything. Those items cost money and the more a business has to replace, the more it costs. Like it or not, costs are always turned around to be picked up by the patron, basic business. I believe in thinking ahead, going out of my way to stop waste by returning such items to be reused.
Think about it. If everyone thought to do such an action, then the savings would add up. In an ideal world, the decreased overhead would be passed along to the customer. Seriously, if not, I’m fine with the local business making more profit. That means they will be in business for years to come. Putting aside extenuating circumstances, that’s probably the number one reason businesses go out of business, lack of profits. After all that’s why they are in business in the first place, among other reasons I’m sure. So if they make more profits and yet still sell great quality products at lower prices, win win for everyone.
Just thinking outside the box, maybe if it’s a local coffee shop, (I know I don’t drink coffee but work with me) bringing in your travel mug when getting a coffee to go. Or bringing your own bag instead of taking the store plastic bag. I guess, these are just good practices anyway to eliminate waste and excess.
Please also keep in mind, large name brands could fall into this category. Example, franchises are sometimes owned by local patrons. They are also the ones who sponsor events like little leagues and they give back to the community and supply jobs to the area. Just because they have a big name associated to a business, behind the curtain could be your neighbor.
Thrill of the Hunt
Yes, I too am a small business owner, a local Latrobe, Pennsylvanian homegrown company. Being the co-owner of Thrill of the Hunt, a division of The Piper Corporation, we develop and administer to theme scavenger hunts for business functions, fundraisers, events and all sorts of parties, you get the point. We also host public scavenger hunt events, our more popular being our dog scavenger hunts. I could go on about our company so if anyone is interested, I can be reached at heather@PiperCorporation.com or visit our website Thrill of the Hunt.
Granted, I don’t have a retail store, but it is nice to see the local people wanting us to succeed. There is nothing better than positive vibes! How do they do that? Sometimes the best support is speaking honestly over my company, either good or bad. I appreciate the feedback, ultimately helping to make my product and services better.
Also, the best support comes in the form of word-of-mouth. When I hear others telling their friends and family about Thrill of the Hunt, I really get excited and it helps to recharge my battery. Not to mention, those who have participated in one of my scavenger hunts are excited about them. It’s even better when the scavenger hunt is still being talked about long after the event. I love to hear that! That’s exactly what I want, others to enjoy themselves and just plain have a great time!
Believe it or not, just because I am a Latrobe based business, I also help the areas I attend in many different ways. With our public scavenger hunts, I try and incorporate the small local businesses, adding them as part of the scavenger hunt, driving traffic directly to their doorstep. I also train Thrill Leaders to work my scavenger hunts, providing experience and employment in those particular areas.
Now don’t get me wrong, if a company has poor quality or horrible service then they are on their own as far as I’m concerned. If you take those negative aspects and add in no selection or terrible hours, then they need to reconsider their business and either make adjustments or part ways. Just because they are local, doesn’t mean I, as a customer have to be treated as an after thought. Nope!
So what is the point of this? Simply patronize local businesses and home grown companies. Take the few extra minutes to think like a business owner with respect to recycling or saving them costs or offering them constructive feedback. It could mean saving you money in the long run or having a local business that will go above and beyond for you, which might come in handy one day. There are many ways to show appreciation, even by writing a blog entry, reading it and passing it along!