The Return of Mom & Pop Shopping
One of the charms of living in small town America is the local businesses you can find lined up on Main Street. Go into any small town and sure there will be the usual stores and banks you see everywhere but you will also see local enterprise. The original mom and pop storefronts that have names of real people on the doors. You know when you cross that threshold you will most likely meet the owner or his/her family at the counter and be greeted with a big smile welcoming you to their store.
There was a time in our history when major industry was secondary to the mom and pop storefronts. I remember where I grew up going to a local grocery store owned by a family I went to school with. It was small with only about 4 aisles but it was always stocked with the essentials and the best candy you could get in our town. In the town next to ours was an original dime store owned by some friends of our family. While nothing was a dime you could still find some cool things alongside the racks of current magazines and comic books. Everyone knew one another and we shopped their stores because it kept them open and it was pleasant, fun and you got to see people you knew.
Today, while we live in a small town we usually find ourselves going where the big stores. There isn’t much in the way of local stores that have what we need and if there were we’d go there instead. It seems everywhere you look it is bursting with chain stores. Most small town main streets are boarded up shells of a time long past. The stores where you knew the owners have been replaced with franchises and major store names you see everywhere. Traffic is always bad trying to get to those stores too when you need to run errands and pick up a few things. I thankfully do a lot of shopping online and it’s delivered but there’s always something to run out and get. As I sit in traffic waiting to get to the store and then in crowded aisles and lines to do my shopping I often think about how much more fun it was to go shopping.
As things change even more in our society we now see big chain stores starting to go bankrupt and out of business. There are entire malls and strip shopping centers sitting vacant. Certainly online shopping has contributed to this situation but so has our way of living. We are no longer interested in mass produced, low quality products that cost a lot. There is starting to be a return to locally crafted, locally owned uniqueness that is worthy of our time, attention and money. I personally hope this leads to the return of local merchants once again taking back their Main Street shops. I can almost hear the tinkle of the bells on the front doors now.
While my business is online it is still what I consider a local small business. Maybe one day I too can have a storefront on Main Street with my quilts in the window and natural living resources and products on the shelves. What’s cool about today’s living though is that regardless of location I can still deliver that feeling you get when you walk into a family owned store. I can still give that ideal and perfect personal customer experience where when you come to my website, read a blog post or see something on social media from me you feel welcomed and one of my friends. Making a sale with you is secondary to my ability to make you feel special. It’s that experience that makes shopping fun. When you leave you remember how you felt whether you purchased something or not. That’s the experience I want you to have with Dragonspit Apothecary.
When we support one another in this way we create community on a local and large level. We recognize that we as humans can live better and in a way that makes every day activities like shopping fun, interesting and worthwhile. That experience of connecting with another human where there is genuine interest in who they are, how their family is doing and how you can help them is an experience that cannot be replicated in a chain store. When was the last time a check out clerk even looked at you with a real smile? This same experience is what happens when you shop with your friends who have direct sales businesses. You have the experience as well as make a purchase that is of value to you.