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When It Makes Sense To Pay More

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.

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4 Responses to When It Makes Sense To Pay More

  1. I really like this concept. I just want to know as it consists of how many templates. I had been reading a few of the articles right here but everyone provide great information and I needed to leave just a little remark to support a person as well as wish you a good continuation. 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 Country sport ultimately shut Dow.Thanks.
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  2. Thanks for writing such an interesting article we need you in that discussion on the HR Technology Conference group on Linked In. I find it one of the more boring and tedious ones we’ve hosted in our 15 months. I mean corporations have freaked out about every new communications medium brought into their four walls. Only senior execs got one at first cause their juniors couldn’t be trusted not to waste time with it. Or, gasp!, might call their friends. Thanks very much

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  3. Jeb Brodrick says:

    When one refers to a town having charm or a cozy feel invariably it’s because of the storefronts. Their inviting design, personable staff and engender our sense of home and fantasy of an easier pace. Small stores are what people first see when they encounter a new town. I would argue that it is the small business that provides the very fabric of the community’s DNA. We coalesce around these places like a warm hearth in the wintertime. Stores are what gives us a sense of place through the variety of their offerings, the warm expertise of the proprietors and the very tactile sense we enjoy when patronizing their establishments.

    Indeed, my sense is that great downtowns and small towns are built on the entrepreneurs who strike out in business because of their passion and expertise – qualities they impart to their customers with the unspoken promise that if something doesn’t work right it can be returned or exchanged the same day.

    I would argue that townships begin to lose their appeal and suffer diminished personality as their small businesses becomes fodder for big box retailers or evaporate as online sales shrink profits to nothing.

    Economically buying online saves great cost and time. And there’s no lack of data or social commentary on the products we purchase or the services we hire. But in the long run we have to keep the bigger picture in perspective. We need both “channels” to purchase from. We need to touch our merchandise. We want to smell the exotic perfumes, taste the fresh chocolate from France, feel the luxury of fine leather jackets. And we want it for 20% off. So if we buy online after having visited one of our small town merchants to get a practical, tactile, kick-the-tires perspective we owe that business either the sale itself or a form of credit.

    Having a concrete and virtual business is the ideal. I lived in Hingham, Mass several years ago. There was a nice little shop my Mom used to enjoy going to. She appreciated the quality products and fashionable, yet practical women’s attire they sold. Situated amongst several small businesses, a milkshake store (we called them frappe’s) a local drugstore, and an old-town movie theater, Talbot’s was a very popular and simple place for women to shop. Million’s today appreciate this brand online and in physical storefronts. It’s a dream deal.

    I believe the original Talbot’s is still there in Hingham and while I don’t buy women’s clothes it will be nice to see if the same store is still there amongst the other small businesses that I enjoyed. (I’ll find out this summer with a trip back east planned). I hope the frappe store is still there. Try buying a fresh milkshake on a hot New England day on the web.

  4. Bizzy Life Author Avatar Tim O'Leary says:

    Terrific comment – I totally agree. I have seen many wonderful small towns wiped out when they fell victim to the allure of national retailers and their promised jobs – which in turn destroyed not only the local businesses, but often the real heart and soul of the community. The town re-zones to allow ugly big boxes – and it becomes another generic place with a generic quality of life and little allure to tourists.

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