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Front Page » August 17, 2004 » Opinion » Not all new business is good business for the town
Published 3,626 days ago

Not all new business is good business for the town


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate community editor

The attitude of a business, particularly a chain business as it moves into a new town, is a measure of the kind of neighbor that venture will be to the community. Some move in and work with existing businesses and people in town, others come in arrogantly, and try to ram their agenda down the throat of not only the existing business community, but also the citizens of the locale.

The recent furor over box stores moving into various communities around the nation, including some in Utah, points out that just because an organization has an established name and has a good reputation with some people, doesn't mean everyone will want them in their community.

Box stores and chain restaurants often displace long time establishments in small towns very quickly with their lower prices, flashy advertising and long hours. Unfortunately, that is capitalism at it's best or worst, depending on how you look at it.

But even worse than that some move in with a disrespect for the community and it's institutions. They run roughshod over other businesses and people that aren't even in competition with them.

District managers of chain outlets are under a lot of pressure to have good grand openings, to make sure customer bases are secured and of course to keep the profits as high as possible. As is the problem with most American business, though, they are often looking for that next promotion, so short term gains are much more important to them than long term goals and relationships.

One of the many thermometers of how a business actually relates to a community is if it takes the time, and cares enough to support the local media outlets by working with them and spending some dollars from their vast promotion budgets for advertising.

Many of the box stores are notorious for using direct mail advertising, which benefits no one in the community in terms of revenue. Others use only national advertising campaigns to support their business.

That is a slap in the face to a community that may have radio stations that have been around for 70 years or newspapers that have lasted a century or more. People who work in those businesses spend money in the community and they also have a large influence on others as well.

But not spending money to advertise locally is only the tip of the iceberg for many of these types of businesses. Their arrogance about their place in the town or in the scheme of things in a community can often have devastating effects on their customer base.

Most advertising representatives who approach these types of businesses are told "Our policy is that we don't advertise locally," or "We have a large national campaign and that is where our money goes right now."

Not what the locals want to hear, but understandable and professional.

However when they are told by a business that their advertising outlet is "too small" or when they are treated rudely by being asked "Why would we waste our time advertising with you?" it is an insult to the whole town. If the existing radio stations or newspapers are too small to be important to a new business, is the community where the organization has just located a new store too small to bother with as well?

Word of rudeness and arrogance spread quickly in small towns. No national or regional advertising campaign can make up for that, and once the beans have been spilled it is hard to put them back into the can.


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