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Old 03-17-2013, 09:34 AM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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Big fish-little fish, chain vs mom and pop talk.

I loath chains, I want to give my money to the small businessman in town, how do you feel?

Brian

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Old 03-17-2013, 12:10 PM
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Me too, as long as they're reasonably competitive. For example: the only home town gas station within 5 miles has gas for $4.20 a gallon, I can buy it at Costco for $3.79 a gallon, which station would you use?
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:19 PM
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That's exactly the problem...as much as I hate going to Wal-Mart, often their prices dictate I do some shopping there. That being said, if a local competitor is within reason on price, I prefer to give the local entrepreneur my business and what I like about the Mom & Pop store is, they need to know about what your buying, the large stores rarely have anyone that you can find to help (if you do find someone, it's not their department). If I'm buying groceries (sad, but most grocery stores are chains now...I don't have a small business type grocery store within 10 miles of me), paper towels etc...I'll shop on price. If I'm buying something that I may need technical support or advice, I don't mind paying a bit more and dealing with the retailer that knows what he's talking about.

Ray
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:21 PM
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I would too, if they stocked the stuff I need.
In this town I canīt buy Duracell batteries anymore,
the big places are far away so I buy online.
Or I get the, "Weīll have that by the end of the week",
thatīs great if today is Monday.
The owner of the place where I try to buy paint is sooo put out
by customers, lethargic and couldīnt care.
If heīs serving someone I walk out, heīll never get to me.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:50 PM
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We do what we can to support the locals but "Cheap and Easy" is the name of our song, especially if you are on a fixed income.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:16 PM
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For grocerys we shop at WinCo' its employee owned, and their prices are usually as cheap or cheaper than others, the huge chain stores are unbieveably expensive,, just because they kinda stack their produce, and have nicer displays,, but the product is always the same , and comes from the same distributer,, just that the corporate store has exec's that get big bucks,,,
For gas we go to Costco,, always at least 3-5cents a gallon cheaper,, none of them wash your windshield anymore,,,
its a money hungry world out there folks
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:44 PM
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Shopping for what? For gas, I go wherever it is cheapest- except I will push my ride before I'll put Shell products in it. I've had 3 engine failures due to use of Shell gas.

Groceries - 99% of the time it is at either Costco or a big chain. Small locals do not have the selection of products & brands. Local Farmers markets for fresh veggies & fruits

Specialty stuff (for example - TV's or electronics) - 100% is on-line research and reading up or reviews & reports, then select the best model and buy it where price is best - often on-line.

Tools & car parts - well, it seems that the locals are in a competition against the big chains to see who can hire the dumbest staff, so again, do the on-line research and buy on price.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:54 PM
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I probably go against the grain here but I buy from the guy who provides a good customer service. Yes when I do not have another choice it is off to the chain store for what I need..

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Old 03-17-2013, 07:12 PM
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I pay for customer service. Auto parts I only use the shop in town which has existed by the same family of ownership since 1948.. In some cases I need to go to the Napa a few towns over, but they usually offer just as good of a service and I know the good workers.

Groceries, much is bought at the local market, some at chain stores. Hardware generally comes from the local place in town, but they have become a bit lacking in customer service as of late after they expanded quite a bit and hired some non stellar employee's.
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Old 03-17-2013, 07:41 PM
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Sam, Matt, what is exactly how I look at it. And I have done price checking and often the little guy is so close in price or even better than the big guy in town on most of the stuff I buy. I know when I remodeled my bathroom the local store who helped me like I was a friggin student in a class room, their prices were better on most every big ticket item. The only two three things I bought else where were what my local hardware store didn't have, that was it. And I didn't just blindly go into the local store, many of these items were hundreds of dollars and I wanted to get the very best I could afford. But in the end they were better priced or close enough to not worry about it.

I just feel good about leaving my money in those places.

Our local hardware store expanded a LOT recently adding a lumber yard too so now I have no excuses to not go there. And the added employees are of equal quality, they really are excellent.

I do get stuff on line, but it's usually stuff that I can't get around here or it would be to hard to find so I jump on line and get it coming.

Brian

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Old 03-17-2013, 07:54 PM
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I'm with you Brian.

I try to buy from the local folks, rather than the "big-box" store, even if it means spending up to 10% more for an identical item.

I beleive that building relationships with other business owners and their staff "pays off" in more ways than one.

I moved out here from Calgary in 1988, and one of the very FIRST things I noticed was that I was greeted with a smile and a "how are you" within 3 ft of the door walking into a local store. That was followed by a genuine "What can I help you find?"

They knew I was new in town (because they actually make an effort to get to know their customers).
I am usually greeted by my first name now, after having lived here for many years, and it's hard to go to the local Co-op Grocery without bumping into many friends and customers while picking up a few things.

The staff at the Co-op gas bar knows not only what pump I'm at, regardless of which of my 3 vehicles I'm fueling up, and also know my 5-digit membership number off by heart.

I've embarrassed myself, more than once, by fueling up --- then realizing that I don't have my wallet in my coveralls. No problem ... they don't need to keep my watch for collateral, or take a photo, or call in a police escort. "I'll be right back" is promise enough.

Those kinds of things sure beat the heck out of getting to the till, and being asked if I have a an air miles card, IMO.

Olds has grown quite a bit ... from pop 5,000 to 8,000, and we have plenty of new "big box" stores. I sure hope the "Mom & Pop" operations can continue to thrive.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:15 PM
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There does seem to be a common theme coming through, although we all like a better price on the merchandise we buy, we all seem to get a little pissed at the amount of knowledge not possessed by staff and the service or lack there of. It seems that the personal touch has gone out of supplying what we the consumers need. The big box stores saw this trend, offered exactly what we weren't getting by way of service, bought in volume and lowered the price and now has taken the lions portion of market share.

I like the way "Dave57210" put it, "well, it seems that the locals are in a competition against the big chains to see who can hire the dumbest staff, so again, do the on-line research and buy on price." I guess my question would be, how long before we do all of our shopping on-line? Wal-Mart wouldn't need a store front anymore, just a warehouse...hire 1/3 the staff because for the most part, the other 2/3 of the staff they have now don't know much about the department that they're plugged into anyway. All we do is our research on-line, go to the internet retailer that has the best price and fill our cart, wait the agreed upon amount of time and open the door for the delivery guy.

I don't know, but that for some reason just doesn't seem right. I remember when going out grocery shopping was a family outing. Every Saturday night my parents would load the kids in the car and it was off to the local grocery store. We would run into other families doing the same thing, the parents would stand off to one side and visit while the guy behind the counter would make sure we got the exact cut of meat or that the bread was sliced just the way we wanted it and if we didn't act up to much, well we might get a bottle of pop and a chocolate bar. Buying a family car was big event, the hunt going from dealership to dealership, picking out the right options, color and model. I remember the whole neighborhood getting excited the day that the new car was being driven into the driveway. The list of purchases and how they where made goes on and on. That was back in the day when if you where the guy behind any counter you needed to know exactly what your customer wanted, if you didn't, you wouldn't have that job. Today it's almost expected that the person you purchase a product from is only there to take your money and that person couldn't care less if any other service was provided or if what you purchased met your needs.

I don't mind paying a little more for service and the comfort of having dealt with a person that was knowledgeable about what I bought. I appreciate an employee that listens, asks me pertinent questions and perhaps suggests a different item that would better suit my needs.

I detest going into a Box store looking for an item and finally finding a guy with an Orange apron only to find out that he doesn't work in that department and can't help me. I hate walking aimlessly, isle after isle looking for a certain item and finding a tag on the appropriate bin that say "Temporarily Out Of Stock" and no one around to tell me when it's going to be in stock.

Ya...the big 5 acre Box Store is here to stay. I feel what they've done is make us, the consumer, our own sales person to the point that we know exactly what we want before we even get inside....and it doesn't matter if it's what we need, as could be pointed out by a well trained member of the support staff...it's what we want.

Just my thoughts.

Ray
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:20 PM
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Mom & Pops are tops!! Like the local food & farmers market . The home town place that others drive too! My dad has taken me at the age of 8 or 9 to a place called Haggler's in River Edge NJ . Best dam Egg's Home Fries , Toast & Coffee for $1.25 !
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:47 PM
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With the prices on auto parts that I get from the local store, Advance Auto is most often more expensive when I figure in the drive. Prices are usually within $5 of the cheapest locally, and I don't have to be offered fuel injector cleaner as a MPG booster good for a magic 5 MPG at the counter.
Have a local Ace hardware that will pull out of season items out of storage to sell them if you ask and they have it...

Gas station across the street from my work ( resort ) will write IOU's for gasoline for resort employee's and local's. Never had to use one, but they get at least $50 from me each week regardless of what the price on the pump says. They are usually cheaper anyway.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:21 PM
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Brian, I want to clarify myself on my post in the other thread. I was not knocking Maaco or the other McPaint stores per say, just comparing them to big box businesses. There is a local used car dealer that I have done some small spot repairs for from time to time that usually gets the $500 special (which happens to be on sale for $250 this month) at one of those stores. I have seen the paint jobs and am pretty sure I could do better work with a good brush, outside, on a rainy day, with the wind blowing. I am sure they offer higher quality work for a higher price, with better results (because lets face it, how good of an overall paint job do you really expect for $500 or less). I have seen a few of the Mcpaint jobs that actually looked pretty good, but those were also on cars that were prepped prior to paint by the owner and I would bet the cost was much higher as well. I am also sure that like any other franchise each one is different in quality, due to having a different owner.

Kelly
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