Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Small Business Everyday

So, I haven't posted in quite a while, but something has me a little irritable today...and someone needs to say something. 
Recently, a local business announced that it was shutting it's doors-forever.  People are in an uproar.  I'm seeing all over social media sites that people are screaming to "save local businesses!" and "don't let the big box stores win!"  Normally, I join them in their cries.  I do.
But not this time.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love small businesses.  They are the reason that I have a job.  They are my customers and friends.  Some of them are even family to me...because I, too, work for a small, family owned business. I respect the work, sweat, love, money, tears and time they've put in to building that business.  I understand that every dollar means something.  I understand that every employee is special to them.  I understand that sometimes, they don't take a paycheck in order to cover expenses.  I understand how small businesses work.
Now, with that being said- a week before a business closes is NOT the time to try to save the business.  It's just not.
One woman commented on the article about the business saying that she had "gone there when (she) was a kid, how dare they close it!"
May I just point something out?
She WENT there.  When she was a KID.  So, like, what?  20 years ago?  Probably.
Someone else commented that our community needs to support more small business....and then promptly went and bought things from Amazon.  Yes.  You go, citizen.  You show the big box businesses how you support local business....oh wait.  You don't.
Now, here's some advice.
If you REALLY want to save small, local, family owned businesses...you need to support them all the time.  Not just when they're having a sale or when they're trying desperately to keep their doors open or they're liquidating everything in the store to be able to leave with some semblance of a profit.  You need to support them on Mondays when you need milk or on Thursdays before your mom's birthday or on Saturday when you're going to lunch with your husband.  Support them the week before Thanksgiving so that they can actually make a profit on the things they sell you.  Support them.  All the time.  Give them your business, your recommendation and your money.  Stop getting your groceries at WalMart.  Stop buying crap online.  Get your sheet music from your LOCAL music store. Stop shopping at Guitar Center.  Use your local hardware store.  STOP using Amazon.  You may not know this, but places like Amazon and Guitar Center don't follow the rules that other businesses are expected to comply with.  That's why things are cheaper there.  Another reason to shop local?  Chances are, if you shop locally, you'll get an expert with your purchase.  They wouldn't be in that business if they didn't love it.  They know what they're selling you because they use it.  They believe in it.  That's what the extra money pays for.  It pays for expertise.  For example, the guys at Guitar Center can't restring your guitar.  They can't tell you why one type of wood is more resonant than another.  They can't fix the bridge.  For the most part, the local guy CAN do all of those things.
Support that guy.  The one who loves his job and his products.  The one who is fighting the big guys. Your screaming all over Facebook and Twitter about saving small business does NOTHING if you don't spend your money.  NOTHING.

Support them all the time. Not just when they're closing they're doors.

That, my friends, is how small businesses are saved.