Thursday, November 05, 2009

3 50 68 1

I'm just back from the dog park where the "damn dog" has given me agita. There's something wrong with either the hook on her leash or her owner but as we left the gated area, I realized I was holding a leash not attached to a dog. Trouble is, so did the dog. She was off like a shot--running along the creek, running into the creek, running away away away. So much for all that obedience training. When I was trying to find a way around the bunker near the creek so I could reach her, she raced back to the park. One of the men there tried to get her back into the park. When I saw she was hanging around the fence, I went over to the little dog side (now empty) and called her. Then she came to me. I was so mad at her. She's lying here all smug with herself, but man, she stinks like a frickin' sewer. Fortunately, she's going off to the day care center for a long weekend. (She'll have her own room with a tv, so don't feel bad for her.)

The other day I said I'd tell you more about spending money locally, the 3/50 project. The dude and I decided we should do it. We're not spendy-spendersons, so our goal is to spend more of the money that we do spend locally. I think that what really struck me about this project was the idea that for every $100 you spend locally, $68 returns to the community in payroll, taxes, and expenditures. Compared to $43 shopping at a national chain and $0 if you shop online.

The other day, I was at my local bead store and I asked the proprietor, "did you have a chance to order those silk ribbons we were talking about?" We had discussed about a month ago getting neutral silk ribbons to use on the golden bead for my sister. I guess she figured I'd go off and order some off the internet--a practice I bet a lot of small shop owners have to contend with. Especially when you're a small shop, you have to weigh ordering for a customer--especially an occasional customer--with the minimums you are often required to purchase. (This can really drain a store's resources.)

So I told her, the dude and I have decided to stop ordering online. "It's probably safer," she says. "That too," I replied. "But we're trying to make a commitment to support small businesses in the community. The money we spend here stays in the community." You should have seen her face brighten! "Thank you!" she said, "I really appreciate that." Before I left, she was ordering the silk ribbons I was looking for.

It looks like we all win! So think about it, how can you better support the small shops in your area?


Brigitte said...

It's a very good idea, I think. But for doing so you have to live in a bigger community where you can find the respective shops. We don't have a craft store here, no fabric store, nothing like that.
But I have been buying all my books at the local book store for many year now instead of ordering them.

mainely stitching said...

It's a great idea. The teensy town we are moving to has next to nothing, seriously, but they'll never have anything if it doesn't start somewhere. Perhaps an extra item or two here or there ....

Stella sounds a bit like Lola, who also takes off like a shot when she get the chance. Thankfully, she returns for food. LOL.

Siobhan said...

Like Britt said, great idea if you have stuff available to you. I try to do that as much as I can, though. Some things just have to be bought over the Internet, though.

I am sure the neighbors are still laughing about the time Duffy took off, running down the middle of the road, while I ran behind him, trying to catch him--as a car drove behind me. The car would have happily flattened him like a pancake. I caught the little bugger, brought him inside, and he thought he deserved a treat for his hard work. You love them... but sometimes they are SO frustrating!

Alice said...

I love the idea of buying locally, and I do it whenever I can. I am not a spendy person either, but when I shop I love the experience of little unique shops. I guess I could think about asking the lady at my LNS to order the things I want that she doesn't carry....

Glenna said...

This is something I've tried to practice. There is a small local shop where over the years I have ladled out tons of cash for stitchy supplies. I would guess in terms of expenditures that I might be one of her top 5-10 customers. I don't expect that this shop owner will stock everything in her small space or treat me like visiting royalty, but I am taken aback when it takes her 2-3 months to order fibers or fabric for me or worse, ARGUES with me when I gently suggest perhaps her customers might buy a lot of x, y or z item since she doesn't follow things on the 'net. Recently I said I wished she would stock a particular item, and she informed me rather haughtily her customers (I'm not a customer?) wouldn't like the item, so she didn't plan to--ever. So I've recently taken to the highway and the internet and my habit of dropping in weekly will no longer help fill her cash drawer. Sadly, sometimes they don't leave us any choice, and the closing of doors on main street is related more to lack of business savvy than lack of willing customers with cash in their pockets.

Anonymous said...

Excellent idea! I've been going to stitch night once a week at my small local stitching shop. They are so small they order their fabric by the yard, not by the bolt. But what they lack in stock (which they can always order for me) they more than make up for in friendliness. They always seem glad to see me and call me by name - not like at that other very big shop up the turnpike. :( So, I've decided that, whenever possible, I will purchase all my stitching supplies at the little shop.

I want to try the little shop's camp, too. They just had it last week and said it was very fun.


Kristen said...

Nice idea, but the LNS in my small city is devoted to needlepoint. They do stock a few x-s items, things that have a local theme (either Massachusetts in general or Salem/witches/Halloween). It kills me becasue I can actually walk there, though on second thought, it's probably good that they're needlepoint-oriented. I'd probably go bankrupt otherwise.

Jennifer said...

I agree with Glenna about the lack of business savy. I too try to shop local vs. internet, big box, etc., but after the way I've been treated at my LNS recently, I'll NEVER spend another dime there. However, even though I'm not buying from my LNS, I'm still not buying my items from a "big conglomerate" either. I have found another "local" shop to purchase from even though it is not "local" to me.

Coni said...

STEL-LA! I see that she has the ability to go selectively deaf. Stewey perfected this one the first time I stood in the driveway in my bathrobe and slippers hollering my lungs out to request that he re-join me on OUR side of the street. Damn dog.

(agita...tee hee!)

As for the local thing...we actually have a "movememt" starting here in which local businesses will accept special "dollars" that are purchased/printed/used here in the area. Kinda like Monopoly money, but real, somehow.

(I really need to start paying better attention to the evening news.)

But yes, to answer your question, we try to shop with local merchants too!

Anonymous said...

Well I try and support local business when I can but I too find problems sometimes with their "business sense"-or really lack of sense.

It is also difficult when, if you are even lucky enough to have a store, that they actually might even have anything you want. I too have pointed out things to my LNS (which in her defense she is really a framing shop with a little cross stitch stuff thrown in)things that are lighting it up online, and generating a lot of buzz. I feel as a storeowner, get me excited about what is out there, not the other way around all the time. If it is in the shop I am more likely to buy it...if it is not in the shop...well I am not buying anything.

But here is my issue with the whole local movement. If I have no options or my online option is better (more choices, able to to order from other distributors, more capital to order against)...why should I feel guilty about ordering online?

In many cases the people we are ordering online from are other LNS to someone else-just not local to me-they are an ONS to me. I often order from a shop in Michigan where I used to live. Did I even visit that store? No, it was on the other side of the state from me. But I can get things there I can't get locally here-she would have them in stock ready to go. Is it a big corporation? No it is a local shop owned by regular folks like me. But I am making the choice that while I can order those products from other ONS, I'll order from a store in a place were the economy needs any help they can get.

You could argue the whole tax issue, but in my view, taxes are getting that other LNS/(ONS to me), by the workers the hire to handle my orders, their store, what business taxes they pay, etc. Just because I order from a store in Michigan, doesn't mean that others might not be ordering from other stores here in Florida, and I don't see this internet thing as a loss of taxes, it is just shifting them to other forms, and maybe to different states, but then the tap flows both ways.

Now large corporations are a whole different ball of wax, and I do think they drive local business out. But I also think local business doesn't do enough to fight back. Make me feel special and I can overlook price differences. But they often just don't get it. They have to think creative, and many can't do that.

Jennifer said...

I can attest to what a huge difference being known and greeted by name makes. The owner of my LNS knows who I am, and always provides me with great, friendly service, which makes me much more likely to consider purchasing things from her shop rather than ordering them online, even if they are slightly more expensive in the shop (usually I can justify the extra expense because I am saving on shipping)

But I also agree that small business owners, whether they want to or not, DO have to provide better service to their customers. Big box stores can get away with crappy service because of their lower prices, but part of what we pay a little extra for at local businesses is the service. A small business owner not willing to do a little extra - order something special, be a little more helpful / knowledgable about what they sell, etc., tends to end up reaping what they've sown.