Small Business Survival is an Investment

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I’m hurt. Maybe there’s no room for a shop owner to be hurt, but I can’t help but feel hurt at times. And this one hurt.

I think I can speak for most shop owners when I say that we truly try to do right by our customers. Often, we forego getting keystone pricing (pricing that allows shop owners to get a 100% profit on an item). We try to price things competitively without giving away the shop. Big Box stores can buy in such huge bulk quantities, they can get the absolute bottom-line cost and pass that savings onto the customer. 

But there is another side to shopping local. . . .crossing county lines to get the best bargain price. Just like with big box stores, small businesses that are in larger metropolitan areas or serve more densely populated territories can offer pricing that a shop like mine can’t. Our population isn’t large enough for me to be able to buy in bulk quantities to get the best prices. Whenever I do get a break in costs, I pass that along to my customers.

One of my customers who I’ve been in negotiations for a new machine crossed territory lines to get a machine from a shop in a larger area. The cost savings was fairly significant, but I had left the door open for further negotiations. And instead of working with her local shop, she went elsewhere, hurting the very shop where she does most of her shopping. We are all vying for the same small pool of dollars during this time. Keeping money in your county and within the territory of your local shop is so important right now. I plead with everyone to work with your local shop before taking your business elsewhere. Quilt shops are not like car dealers. Presumably you have developed a relationship with your local shop’s owner, employees, and shop community. That relationship doesn’t exist with a car dealer. You can cross county and state lines to get a car for the best price. The car dealer wouldn’t know it. Because of the relationships we have with our customers, it is hurtful that the loyalty we extend to our customers isn’t sometimes reciprocated. Keeping a local shop open is an investment on the part of the customers. If they want the shop to continue to operate, they have to invest in it, and sometimes that may mean paying a higher price for items.

Yet another store closed in Grand Junction. The shop had been in business for several generations. It was heartbreaking to see the owner on television advertising the closing. With tearing eyes, he tried to stay optimistic, but it was clear that his heart was breaking. Once everything was on sale, people lined the street waiting to enter. It was at least an hour and a half wait to get in. Where were those people before? Where was their loyalty and their investment in this shop to keep it open and running for another 100 years? Please shop small even if the costs are a bit higher. Help keep your dollars at your local small businesses and in your community. You can’t imagine the good those dollars do to save the business, help keep our friends and neighbors employed, and help keep your local economy strong.

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