Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is It Worth It?

I'm really not sure how to approach this subject, but I'm going to try my best.  I'm not trying to put folks down, but I'm trying to understand the mindset people have.  In the past couple weeks I have had customers rave about my store, but in the same sentence tell me they are going to Walmart to purchase something we carry because it's "cheaper".  One told me they had been looking all over for a lure and I had it.  In almost the same breath said they would go to Walmart to buy something else.  Another wanted a product, but I wasn't open.  They purchased at Walmart only to be unhappy with it.

Let me clarify that I am not against big corporations.  I love capitalism.  I also love the mom and pop shop.  I love that you can go to a fishing store in any community, ask what is biting, and you'll get a great answer.  I will admit I am not the most punctual person.  I have been known to open late.  Let me apologize now to anyone who has had to wait for me.  Despite my time faults, I also have stayed open late for customers.  I have delivered items to customer's homes for them.  I'm not saying this to brag about myself.  I'm saying this to show you the difference between the big box store and a local small business.

You see, we are here because we love what we do.  We put money into the local economy because we live in the neighborhood.  Most of the time you will find small business owners are quite informed on the products they sell.  If I don't know about something a customer asks, I will try to find out.  If you need something we don't have in stock, we have the flexibility to order it for you.  Most big box stores order once, months in advance.  Once they are out of a product, it's gone.  We are not working by the hour.  Unlike most associates at the box stores, we have a vested interest in our business doing well.

Pic courtesy of K. McDonald.  Property of Woods Sporting Goods

I try to carry products I know my customers use.  Some stores may have multiple isles of fishing products, but how many of them are effective?  Are you looking for an older black powder product?  Many times I have them because I know I have customers that use the product.  There are some products I order in bulk to keep the prices down for my customers.  Try counting out a bulk package of hooks and repacking it into 5 hooks per bag by hand.  You get stuck a few times!  You see, I know many of my customers and I know some have been laid off from work or had their hours cut back.  I want them to have a good product for a great price.  So I will get my fingers pricked a few times, to help keep the prices down.

My final appeal to local shopping today is this- gas is currently over $3 a gallon.  How much money are you really saving to go 30 miles out of your way to buy an item that is maybe 15 cents more at the local store?  For years, my husband has been telling me to put a sign at the store that has the price of gas each week and the mileage to the nearest box store for all the folks that say "I think it's cheaper at ________."  I might just start doing it.


  1. Will's got a great idea there...I say Make the sign!!
    I know everyone is watching their pennies but many times we forget about factoring in things like gasoline because the pain at the pump was a day or so ago and we don't even want to THINK about it, haha!

    The thing I keep thinking about, is that through shopping locally I am supporting the local economy and even though I might be able to get certain things for .15 cents cheaper somewhere else, I want to make sure that small business is around for when I DO need something ordered, or I need a certain item that is not available at the big box store.

  2. Staci, Staci, Staci,

    After 24 years in business we deal with these customers weekly. We have put up a framed saying, “The bitter taste of poor quality remains long after the sweet taste of low price is forgotten.” That still does not sway those who are set on buying from the big box or internet. There are many who pay $100 or more a year for a "throw away" vacuum that comes unassembled. Yet they are unwilling to spend $300 at my store for one I guarantee five years and that will last an average of ten years.

    This week we dealt with women that wanted a quilt frame we could not get for her. We were able to find a family-run store close to her that could get it for her but she decided to buy it off the internet because she didn't want to deal with a local store. Those are the folks that we are not going to make understand.

    Will's idea about gas prices and miles to the store is great!

    Also check out this site -

    Ralph and LeAnn

    1. It's sad, isn't it? Add to it all China, the whole throw away mentality, and the economy mixed together. Then you get a bad cycle. The question is how do we return to caring for service and quality products?

      I am thankful for the customers who truly care. They are wonderful!