One of my biggest pet peeves is Walmart! Not because they are a retail giant and all the bad stuff that people associate with corporate greed. I just don’t like going there. Get a parking spot, find what you want, wait in line, check out, wait in line again leaving the parking lot. To me it is a pain. Sometimes an unavoidable one, but a pain nonetheless.
Even so, the shop needs supplies. I have to buy light bulbs, spray paint, sandpaper, and all the miscellaneous stuff that keeps us turning out our work. When I need this stuff, I go to the Lehighton Hardware. Not because it is cheaper. It usually isn’t much more expensive, but I know I could get it for less at Walmart. I go there becuase of Linda and the fine ladies that staff the place. As a man, I am not ashamed to admit that I have learned a great deal about “hardware stuff” from these ladies. They know their stuff and have it in stock and sell it at a fair price. Not the cheapest price, but a fair price. If they don’t have it, they get it and actually follow through with a call to let you know it is in. I go there to learn a little bit about running my own shop.
3 years ago, I moved to just past Beltzville. I drive past Marzen’s Hardware every day. One day I needed an off the wall part for a project at home and I stopped there. WOW! These guys have everything. I MEAN EVERYTHING! They had what I needed… In 3 different sizes!
I now had a dilema: 2 Excellent local sources for stuff I might need. I decided that Lehighton Hardware would supply my store and Marzen’s would take care of anything I needed for my home.
This has worked out great. I learn something about running my own business each time I stop at one of these local, family owned businesses. I truely believe that these stores are not successful in spite of Walmart, but BECAUSE of Walmart. They did not crawl in a hole when the giant retailer moved into town. They stepped up their game and became better than they ever were. Apparently there are a lot of people, like myself, that are happy to pay slightly more for exceptional service.
Moving on, 2 months ago, I decided to upgrade my digital camera to assist me in developing this blog. I did a lot of research online, talked to some people that I knew and decided on the Nikon D40 Digital SLR camera. I priced it out online and found it for as cheap as 529 shipped to my door.
Recently, I read an article in a local business journal about Dan’s Camera City in Allentown. They were bought by 2 longtime employees and they, supposedly were stepping up the services. I decided that I owed it to myself to take the trip to this family run, independent retailer. Only one word describes the store and it’s people: INCREDIBLE!
I walked in and was greeted immediately. At 10:30 am on a Monday, the store was packed. I was told that all salespeople were busy and that someone would be with me soon. About 3 minutes later, a salesperson approached me. He made me feel at ease immediately. I told him what I wanted a camera for, but not the exact model I knew I was looking for. He asked me a bunch of questions and then recommended the Nikon D40. Their price: $599. He went on to tell me all about the filters and lenses and flashes that would help me with my photos.
By the time he was done, I was so blown away with the store, the salesperson and the selection, I knew that this was the place I wanted to spend my money. Even though it cost slightly more, the fact that I knew that I would get assistance quickly if I needed it, made the buying decision easy. They gathered everything that I wanted, took all my information, including my email address and rang up may sale.
These three businesses are shining examples of why local business can thrive in the mass merchant and internet era. These merchants know that they cannot compete on price alone. They have to be better.. no not better… they have to be the BEST at what they do.
As the owner of Mobile Edge, I know that we have to be the best. Our service has to be top notch and our store must be well stocked and engaging. We try very hard to innovate and at the same time to learn from others.
Please feel free to comment on this post or with any ideas that may improve our store.