Talk is cheap. Earn my business.

by: Bo McDonald

I’m a huge proponent of supporting the locally-owned businesses not only in my city, but when I travel. Chains and big box stores are a last resort. But there are always exceptions to the rules, right?

Touting yourself as a small business goes only so far if your products and services are inferior to the competition. Such is the story of a locally-owned convenience store chain. They have a location a block away from our office. I’ve always made it my primary stop for gas on the way out of town to meet with our clients… that is, until recently.

About a year ago, a large out-of-town chain started building new convenience stores on every corner. They came in undercutting the local guys on price. I didn’t give in at first. An extra 5 cents for a gallon of gas certainly hits the wallet, but it wasn’t enough for me to drop the hometown guys right away. Then one day I had to stop in one of the “other guy’s” shops. The store was clean and the selection was great. But most importantly, the cashiers and store employees were smiling. They greeted me, made a little small talk, and thanked me for my business. That’s something the employees at the local store never did. It seems they always want to be somewhere else. They never made me feel like my business was appreciated. So I’ve made the switch.

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