Many years ago there was a wonderful fly fishing shop in downtown Portland called Countrysport. Housed in a wonderful historic building in Old Town, it was mecca for fly fishermen; filled with the greatest gear and knowledgeable salesmen always happy to discuss the latest fishing report. I loved to visit the store, but I must admit that as I became more accustomed to online shopping and the constant discounts available, I spent less and less with Countrysport. I made my big purchases online where I could usually save 20% over the local prices. Evidently many other customers did the same thing, and Countrysport ultimately shut dow.
And now the closest fly fishing store is a thirty minute drive from my house. When I need last minute supplies, I am forced to take the expensive and time-consuming drive, or pay for pricey next day shipping from the online stores. So losing Countrysport ultimately cost me money and convenience, and I really miss the great experience of just going in the store. It was also a loss for local fly fishermen, the community, and added people to the unemployment roles.
So while I am still a dedicated online shopper for many products, and much of my business is assisting major companies in their efforts to sell directly to consumers, I am much more careful to support local merchants that provide more than just a product. I spend money at the country store near my house in Washington state, even though their prices are high and they have limited selection, because if they did not exist my life would be much worse. Plus, they provide jobs and local support to the community, which is good for me. So while on the surface it may look like I am paying more, supporting key local businesses is often a better deal.