Last week it was announced that Tweeter was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and would begin liquidation of all of it’s stores. Rumor has it they are no longer honoring their gift certificates. Circuit City announced the closing of about 1/4 of their stores and soon after announced that they were filing for Chapter 11.
These companies were hit hard with the economic downturn. They were unable to be “light on their feet” and react quickly to market changes. They had millions of dollars in inventory, huge payrolls and millions of square feet to pay lease payments on. Times changed quickly and they were to slow to react.
Trust me, I am not gloating. Circuit City and Tweeter are not my competition. We operate in a different league.
These events are, in general, bad for our industry. Vendors will not get paid and good people will lose their jobs. Customer will lose out in one way or another.
I want to point out the value and longevity that a small, well run, local business has. 5 years ago, the smart money would have said that Circuit or Tweeter would long outlast a store like Mobile Edge. Truth is, we were able to see changes in our market and adapt to these changes, sometimes overnight. We have made mistakes, but, because we are small, we are able to overcome them in a short period of time and without long term effects.
Small stores care about their customers, their employees and their vendors. Most of the time, the owner or manager is fully invested in the store and its survival. Unlike many of the executives from Circuit or Tweeter, we don’t have golden parachutes to fall back on. If our business fails, part of our life fails with it. Most of the independent shops that are left standing have been in business for 12 years or more. We are invested in our communities and have proven customer service.
SO… Why did I take the time to write about this? Simple: Put some faith in your local businesses. The good ones (and it is easy to pick out the good ones) will be around for a long time. We will help you with problems and care that you are buying the right stuff, not the stuff they have to move. We will make sure that you are satisfied with your purchases. We will say “hi” to you on the street and send you a thank you card or email when you make a purchase. At Mobile Edge and most local businesses, you can talk to the owner if you want to. Try that at a mass merchant!