Thursday, May 22, 2014

What's the point of shopping local, anyway?

As I was scrolling through my timeline yesterday, a short video from a small business owner popped up in my feed. It was titled "GRRR" and, being the curious type-person that I am, I had to watch.

He owns a small business quite similar to eLeMeNO-Pee. He had just spent two hours with a customer, enthusiastically detailing the entire cloth diapering process, only to end the consultation with her snapping a few pictures, excitedly sending them to her husband who replied and said "I can find those cheaper on Amazon". She left without making a purchase.

Y'all, it is truly unfortunate how many times this happens on a regular basis. It's not always intentional, I'm sure. I think a lot of customers have good intentions and plan to come back to buy the products. They get online, search around, find a mob of people that point them elsewhere (to generally much inferior products), their loyalty to the company who taught them everything they know starts to waiver,  and then the sale is then lost. 

It may not seem like a big deal but to those of us who own or work for a small business, the loss of sales like this on a regular basis is quite  disheartening. We pour our heart and soul in to our business only to be passed over, time and time again, for big box stores or people opting to import directly from China instead.

We offer a level of customer service that big box stores can never compete with. When you come to us, we remember who you are, who your family is, and what your preferences tend to be. If a problem arises, we are physically here for you - to help you get the right fit for the diaper, how to troubleshoot washing issues, and SO many other things. We love to help you hand-pick items for big events in your life and those around you - baptisms, baby showers, and more. We care. Your patronage is not lost on us - you are what keeps us in business!

Not only is it good for the business you patronize to "shop small", but it's great for your local economy as well. Wouldn't you rather your purchase positively impact the economic sustainability of your own community?  In fact, a study done in Austin, TX showed that $100 spent at a local book store produced $45 worth of local economic activity whereas the  same $100 spent at Barnes and Noble only brought back $3. Yes, you read that right. Three. The difference is staggering!

We know a lot of our customers are also eco-conscious and strive to be as green as possible. Buying local is so much more environmentally friendly than having everything shipped. Industrial pollution is estimated to be responsible for 50% of all pollution in the United States. 

On a slightly different note, if every family spent an additional $10 per month, just ten dollars,  at local businesses this year instead of a big box store, over  9.3 BILLION dollars would be directly returned to our economy.

The next time you're tempted to walk in to a small store and check out a product and walk out and order from Amazon instead, please keep these things in mind. Where you spend your money does matter. It positively influences your local economy, your local shop owner, and the environment. We value our customers more than we could ever say and hope you will continue to help make eLeMeNO-Pee a great success!