People have changed and along with it shifted their ability to choose and make decisions - and living in our world today means going with the recognizable and the familiar. Not out of the box. I'm afraid we're living in a world with blinders on; such as the parent who doesn't want to argue with their child over choices at an unknown place, but instead chooses the safety and security of a chain restaurant. I'm scared that my town has slipped pas the point of being loved for it's icons and long-time locally-owned businesses, replaced by slick marketing campaigns and polished logos from the chains and franchises of America. I KNOW. I was the last independent in a particular retail category to close several years ago in this area. They no longer wanted "the experience" my shop provided; they wanted what they were comfortable in, what they knew. 7-11 could have beaten me at that point when my uniqueness became unwanted and outdated.......now I'm seeing it more and more all the time and yet people aren't getting it, working to change perceptions, considering the buying habits of our current society. I'm worried that it could in time, spell the end of mom and pop as we once knew them.
My post on another site on Thursday, May 18th: "What sort of made this whole franchise vs independent thing resurface was being tagged in a post over the weekend. Since I'm not sure the parties involved wanted to be posted publicly I've blanked out their names.
THIS conversation is one I've probably had 100 times in the last ten years. It seems to me that people cannot and will not think for themselves, do not wish to try anything new and are hesitant to wander into a locally-owned store, period. Why? Because of their comfort level? I think perhaps they are not willing to see what else is out there, they crave the familiarity of a chain, cookie-cutter, predictable company. "Outside the box" is out of their comfort zone maybe?
However in this situation, it seems as if the poster is cheering for the fact that a franchise (chain) store offering the identical services of at least three or four other shops in the area, has opened! That's HORRIBLE. It means they didn't see or use or support local first? They can only "SEE" the familiar logo of a chain or corporation? THIS is what I'm talking about when I say I think there's a "fear of shopping locally", and that OUR biggest hurdle should be how to address that.
Now, with that said, I should be preparing for the exodus from this page. It seems that every time I speak my mind - and say the truth, talk about the real issues and reality of being a #SBO - people leave. They want to share cutesy graphics about supporting small business owners and tag each other and post Instagram selfies about #smallbiz, but the minute I say something that implies that we - as a community of independent owners and believers and people who have poured their heart and soul into their own true blue mom and pop businesses - have to figure out how to educate consumers, share the reasons about localism, explain why it matters to the public - people RUSH to ditch this page. We don't like to see the truth, do we? But for every person out there who will IGNORE the independents and then gush when a chain comes in......well, that is a big problem for small business. I am hoping to see your response......I am HOPING to see people realize how some issues are far bigger than our store sign or marketing plan; it's about the perception of small business vs the familiar logos. I don't know how we solve it but it's out there as the elephant in the room.
Thanks for reading. If I sound upset....well, it's because I am. I'm worried that increasingly we will see folks heading to the corporate chains like lemmings.....ignoring the little guys in their stampede. fyi, if you are one of the people commenting here in this post feel free to message me so we can chat.
Keep the faith.
Continue sharing about the value of independently-owned shops, restaurants, stores and services.
Stay committed to local.