Imagine if you owned an auto repair shop, and a customer came to you and asked you to give them a quote on repairing their vehicle.
The customer tells you they can’t afford to get the repairs made at this time.
Within a week, that customer calls you, the auto repair shop owner, and says they went on the Internet and bought all of the parts needed for the repairs and they watched some YouTube videos to learn how to perform those repairs. But, they were stuck on a few things they couldn’t figure out in the video, so they called your auto repair shop and asked you if you could walk them through it over the phone.
How would you feel if you were that auto repair shop owner? How could your business survive if you helped everyone for free?
Another customer walks in the door and tells you they bought some tires on the Internet and they’d like you to install them on their vehicle, and they tell you they won’t pay over a certain price for installation.
You know that you can’t survive on charging for labor only. You need to make a little money on the mark-up of products like tires.
When we talk about shopping local, we are not just talking about buying products. We also have to consider the service industries in our region who keep our dollars local.
Here’s another one for you.
Let’s say you own a heating and plumbing business, and you receive a call from someone who would like you to install a faucet they purchased at a big box store in Rochester. Your plumbing business has a complete inventory of high quality faucets that have been tried and tested with thousands of local customers. The faucet this customer purchased from a big box store in Rochester is not the best quality, but you install what was provided by the customer.
Within one month, the faucet starts to leak and fails to perform as intended. The homeowner calls you because you performed the initial installation, expecting you to warranty the work on the lesser quality product. You know that your own faucets are better quality and you don’t have problems because they are built to last. Yes, they may cost more, but you operate with the motto “you get what you pay for.” What are you supposed to do? You are installing something that doesn’t meet your standards of excellence, and trying to keep the customer happy.
And yet another one. Let’s say you own an appliance store, and someone calls you to get your help installing an appliance you bought from a big box store in Rochester. You sell the same appliance they purchased elsewhere. If they would have purchased the appliance from your local family-owned store, you would have provided the delivery and installation free of charge. They trust you enough to install their appliance, but they won’t buy it from your store?
These are just a few examples of stories I have heard over the past few years, as I have spoken with local business owners throughout our region.
These local family-owned businesses have expenses such as payroll, insurance, utilities, inventory costs, facility costs, and they also need to put food on the table for their families. With any local business owner, they are the last one to get paid in their business.
When locals spend their money in Rochester or somewhere outside of our small towns, that money is gone — never to return to our small towns. It usually ends up in the coffers of a corporation that doesn’t care about our small towns and our schools.
Our local businesses will generously donate to local chamber of commerce golf tournaments, booster clubs, 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, youth sports, and other benefits for the community. Corporations in the big city will make NO DONATIONS to our communities. They will take our money and run.
Please consider the impact of your buying decisions. Your money spent locally will circulate in so many ways. Jobs. Taxes. Donations. Just to name a few.