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Shopping locally owned businesses not always easy

Sun Advocate community editor

I often talk to people who own local businesses that complain about the fact that so many people from here go over the mountain to purchase things they offer in their establishments or that locals spend too much time buying from the box stores in town.

I for one am all for shopping locally as much as possible, and for purchasing items from those that live here and own stores. However, sometimes businesses seem to make it hard to shop at them, even when a person really wants too. Let me give you an example.

A couple of Saturday's ago my wife found that a poster she had printed for an upcoming event in the community became obsolete overnight because one of the entertainment groups listed on it dropped out of the mix. That same day another group committed to perform, changing the lineup even more.

We decided what would solve the problem was a flashy sticker on which we could print the changes and actually add to the posters appeal. So she and I sent out to look for the appropriate materials to alter the announcement. We decided rather than go to a big outlet store we would hit all the smaller stores in town that might carry such an article.

We spent the better part of Saturday morning being disappointed again and again, finding stores that either had nothing in stock that would fit our purposes, or instead finding their doors closed because they took Saturday's off.

So we ended up doing exactly what we didn't want to do by going to a box store to look for it.

I recognize that having everything anyone could possibly need is almost impossible for small shops. And in this case what we wanted was unusual. However I have had an instance where I often bought a product from a certain business, and informed them that I needed so much of it a month. Yet they invariably ran out time and time again. I even asked that they hold onto some for me when the stocks got low, but they even failed to do that. Inevitably, I quit buying the item from them and went to a more reliable source, unfortunately not a local one.

But being closed on Saturday is a different issue. I realize that some businesses are run by a small staffs and certainly everyone would like to have the full weekend off. But if a business decides to do that then they had better plan on losing customers, not only for that day, but for good. If people can't get into a store on the day they want to be there, then getting them back again is a very hard row to hoe.

True many people have weekends off, and small businesses should deserve the same. But that's the very point. A lot of people have them off and that is when they are out and about looking for items to buy. No one ever said the retail business is easy in any way shape or form.

In the newspaper business 30 to 40 percent of the events we cover are on Friday nights and Saturdays, so I am used to having to work at least part of those days, and sometimes on Sunday as well. The community doesn't stop just because the editorial staff here wants the day off; we have readers to serve.

I would like to think this problem is just something I have run into, but I regret to admit that almost everyone I know complains about this same thing in one form or another.

I for one appreciate local stores that work to provide customer service andhours when I have time to visit them. Many businesses in this town support that kind of ethic.

Unfortunately for the others though, most people remember a closed sign hanging in a window when they want something on a weekend much longer than they do an open sign pinned to a door in the middle of the week.

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