Competition for your money is tight today. There are online services, franchises and chains to choose from when considering purchases. One category often overlooked is the locally-owned, family business. These shops often don’t have the advertising dollars or social media presence of larger companies, so they aren’t as recognized. Yet, they often offer better services than corporate operations.
There are at least five reasons why you should seek out local shops and buy products and services from a family-owned business first.
- You know the owner.
- You can negotiate.
- Complaints are handled by the owner.
- They contribute to the local economy.
- They know you and will work with you.
Knowing the Owner
Personally knowing the owner of a shop in your community can be vitally important when buying products or services. You can request something specific and they will likely go out of their way to provide it while a chain store will simply say it isn’t available.
Most owners know their stores, their inventory, their upcoming sales and any deals they may be able to offer for their products. This is invaluable to you as it speeds up your shopping trip in their shop and any phone calls inquiring of services. You can ask the owner questions directly about their products or services and get a direct, accurate answer. Shop owners tend to answer their phones, so reaching them is easier than with larger operations. It also helps if you have a quick need pop up and need their services quickly. Talking directly to the owner will often result in your needs being met.
Sometimes, those working or owning at a community shop are able to negotiate pricing on certain products and services. This is particularly true for discontinued items or during slow periods. Shops in your community routinely offer special discounts of sales during certain times of the year to reduce inventory, as incentives for bulk or cash sales, and to boost sales in off seasons.
While corporations have sales and promotions they pass down to their regional and neighborhood offices, a family-owned shop sometimes offer more substantial discounts. Those working at a neighborhood store can decide at the point of sale to change the price or offer a discount to the customer without going up a corporate chain of command.
Unlike your dealings at corporate stores, you can always ask a shop owner if they would consider a lower price. The answer may be no, but at least you can ask.
Family-owned stores are much more responsive to customer complaints than a corporate shop. You can talk directly to those who own or manage the store, express your views and get a direct answer on how they will be handled. These shops deal with their employees directly, so they can address any concerns promptly and inform you of any decisions.
A shop owner who lives in your community can decide whether to give you a refund without needing to fill out a lot of forms or consulting with those in a higher position. You will get your answer quickly.
Contributing to the Local Economy
Family stores are more likely to contribute heavily to the community and its economy. They often donate to charity in greater percentages than a corporate chain because those decisions are made in your community, rather than at a corporate office. Its owners are usually involved in volunteerism also and most are members of the chamber of commerce. Spending money with these stores indirectly helps all these efforts.
Another factor to consider is money spent at a family-owned stores will stay in the community. The owners and their employees tend to spend profits and salaries where they live. Most corporate operations are required to send a portion of profits to the corporate office for fees or as part of their agreement, taking money out of the community.
A Business Owner Who Knows You
This is one of the biggest advantages of patronizing stores in your community. The shop owner will know you and trust you once you are a regular customer. This can be important should you ever need anything like a payment extension, a unique service or product, or need to change appointments. A family store owner wants to keep their customers, so they often will work with you to make sure your needs are met and will often grant you courtesies as a sign of appreciation.
Many may think a small shop doesn’t have the inventory or service quality available at larger companies. That simply isn’t true. Smaller stores in the community tend to offer better quality and more personalized services because the owner is involved in all decisions. These store owners and their employees treat you like you’re their neighbors – because you are.