In the days of Internet purchasing and virtual business, which both play such a huge role in the way we live our daily lives, visiting a regular brick and mortar storefront starts to leave our brains when it comes to making a purchase. We almost automatically go to Amazon.com to search for our every need. And I understand why, it’s so darn easy! Even though the sheer convenience of shopping online is enough to steer away from shopping locally and experiencing face-to-face interactions, I encourage everyone to go out and make your purchases the old-fashioned way whenever possible. And this is why…
We live in a comparatively small community. Humboldt County, and even more specifically, Eureka, California, rely so heavily on the support of local businesses to keep everyone afloat. We don’t have very many mega-corporations in this area. Arcata has even fewer (if any) than Eureka does. We rely on the locally owned businesses for most commodities. One example of this that hits home for me is the automotive industry. Even the big brand-name shops like Les Schwab and Firestone are locally managed, meaning the guys or gals who run those locationslivehere, right where you live! We also have several mom-and-pop owned shops who strive so hard to create a positive experience for those who we share the community with. Going the extra mile and then some to create the best possible experience for their customers is a giant part of their business, aside from the actual car repair itself. The point of creating a wonderful experience when visiting these small businesses is to make customers want to return to them in the future and to encourage people to share how great their experience was with others. Locally owned businesses understand how important maintaining reputation is because they, too, are part of the community whom they serve. And in a small town, word of mouth is everything.
So many people cultivate personal relationships with these local businesses and the people who run them. As they begin to make regular visits to the stores, everyone begins to learn about each other’s lives. This creates an affinity for that person and the business associated with them. It becomes more of a personal visit rather than purely business-related. This relationship building aspect is so important to our local economy! I fear that sometimes we tend to forget about this aspect of doing business.
I wrote this mainly to remind everyone of how important having face-to-face interaction is in business. Don’t take the easy route and order everything from your couch. Get out there and talk to people! You will be happy to make those connections with those in your community, I promise that you won’t regret it.
*Pictured above: the crew at Eureka Brake & Automotive, my family’s business in Eureka, CA