A new client of mine pointed out to me recently that I was patronizing a national chain when it would serve my business, my community and me better to be supporting a locally owned company providing the same products.
I admitted to him that it was a function of convenience. The big company has a wide selection of products. As he pointed out, “The money they receive doesn’t go to the local economy, which is what helps you get paid for what you do,” he told me. “It goes to people far away who don’t care about you or your business.”
It’s easy to fall into this trap. If you frequent Wal-Mart, Target, Office Depot, Home Depot, Lowe’s, to name a few, you are doing the same thing. And if you look at the number of people using these places, you know we aren’t alone.
I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t use these companies. It’s a personal choice. But recognize that each of them has a local competitor, often many local competitors, who suffer each time we put a dollar in their cash register.
Since it’s National Small Business Week, it seemed appropriate to have this discussion.
Local companies invest in people in the community as their employees. Those employees spend their pay locally, hopefully. That money goes to other businesses, who then have the revenue to pay for services like what I provide.
Spending money with national companies replaces this local chain with national links, fueling big companies who often have advantages on pricing and money management that makes it nearly impossible for smaller businesses to compete.
It might take a few extra minutes to find what you want or need, but patronizing local businesses is good business.
I am going to work harder to support local businesses, if for no other reason than I need them to support me instead of my national competitors.
I hope you will join me. Try your local pizza shop, the independent bookstore near you, a small hardware store down the road or the auto mechanic that doesn’t have a big name on his marque.
Not only could you find a good company, but you might develop the kind of relationship with a business owner and his employees that you can’t even imagine with a big national company.
I actually look forward to visiting my pizza shop down the road and seeing the woman that waits on me at the dry cleaners. They know me, care about me, talk with me. They make the visit more than a transaction. They make my world seem friendlier, more personal.
I like that feeling. It doesn’t cost me much more and it’s value is greater in so many ways.
I’m glad Larry Dean at Bel Air Liquors in Bel Air, Maryland, called me out on it.