We are proud to be a small family business. Just as many of our customers do, we love to shop local and you should too! The Small Business Administration identified that there are more than 28.2 million businesses operating in the United States as of March 2014. Of these 28.2 million businesses, most are "self-employed" - making up about 75% of the U.S.'s total businesses.
When you consider how many small businesses surround you in your everyday lives, it is impressive to think about the amount of time, commitment and labor these hard working individuals contribute to make their businesses both come to life and stay alive. Yet, many Americans frequent chain stores without considering their local merchant or other small business options.
Customers assume that pricing will automatically be higher at a small business vs. a corporate owned store, as well as they dismiss the MANY perks that many small businesses offer such as customer care, inventory assortment and community support. However, did you know that many of these misconceptions about small businesses are just that... misconceptions? Here's why:
1. Stores do not control pricing of most products. Vendors do.
When you consider brand names you have to also consider that the prices identified on them for sale are identified by the vendor - not the store. With some exceptions, stores primarily have no control over a product price but rather are provided a MSRP (Manufactured Suggested Retail Price) that tells them the price the product should be sold at. Lake Country Bed Barn has total control of our retail pricing and will price our product at a price we would want to pay as a customer! And were penny pinchers :)
2. Inventory is not always more easily available at big box stores.
Smaller merchants have the same access to vendors as big box stores do, therefore if you need an item and it's not available in their store, it's likely they can get in touch with the vendor right away and try and order it for you right away. Of course, there are always exceptions, but most small store owners are eager to go above and beyond in their customer service support and this is just one way they can do so for their customers. We love to make our customer’s happy!
3. Customer service is more personalized, hands-on and noteworthy from smaller businesses.
You should expect that a smaller business will deliver stronger customer service. We pride ourself on our repeat and referral business. This doesn’t happen without happy, satisfied customers. Our personal commitment to our business certainly helps in these efforts. Smaller companies are more flexible in their customer support - with a willingness to bend rules if necessary or deliver VIP treatment when least expected (such as home delivery for a customer during a rainstorm, been there, done that). While every business is different, what also makes customer care among small businesses more valuable is just that - being different.
4. Product diversity and options are often greater at small businesses vs. chain stores. Sure, a big box merchant may have a larger footprint in your local community, but that doesn't mean they have more variety to offer you. When you walk into a chain store, you know exactly what you will find. However, when you walk into a local business, you are often surprised by the inventory options. This is to a customer's advantage and is among the many reasons to frequent your local stores more often. And remember - just because a big box store is just that... bigger... doesn't mean they have more to offer. The assortment of inventory at big box store are just deeper, not more diverse.
5. Local business owners are more likely to give back to your community.
Beyond actual dollars being kept within your local community - which is significantly higher when dollars are spent at a local business vs. corporate one - small business owners are also more likely to "do good" for your community, as well. Many small businesses in the Downtown Hartland Business Improvement District, downtown Watertown, and Waukesha deliver community character and economic advantages to the town they are positioned in, but also strengthen partnerships among neighbors, residents, other small business owners, community leaders and even schools by offering social and economic relationships. Many also support local causes, creating even more good within a community.
Small Business Saturday, any Saturday or any other day in between, supporting small businesses deserves to be part of your everyday routine. Come shop with us in Hartland, Watertown, or Waukesha and feel good about supporting another local families dream instead of CEO’s vacation home.