What is the first thing you do when you want to buy a product? Check online! Everyone does it (myself included). With so many marketing strategies geared to making buying easier and quicker, why would you think of looking anywhere else?
A local, specialty shop will typically carry a larger variety of products that will suit your needs. Big-box stores (even local stores trying to adopt that business model) are going to fall victim to making a selection in order to fit the store. Meaning they will carry a sampling of a lot of different products. A specialty shop will carry a unique variety of products within that specialty and can typically order an item not carried on the premises. Sure, specialty items can be ordered online, but you cannot look at it or get a professional recommendation.
I would say the biggest selling feature of a local, specialty shop is the fact that those in the store are familiar with the product they’re selling! In our store, for instance, we all went through public school music programs (band or orchestra). This experience enables us to recommend a product, tell you why, and be able to discuss concerns or questions on a level that you won’t find at other stores.
Dangers of Online Recommendations
I know that there are forums and whatnot online, but that isn’t a person that you can interact with face-to-face. The internet is full of trolls (people that will just say things to say things and their comments tend to not be completely useful) who will just argue with you. There are blogs and forums by really intense people that feel very strongly one way or the other and you can’t always get an answer to the question you have. Specialty stores can give you one-on-one interaction without the hoops of looking online. In a local business, we know the product and we also know you!
Another benefit to our store in particular is that if you come to us with an issue with your instrument, even if you aren’t sure if the issue is with the instrument or the player, we can fix both! Any instrument you get online (or occasionally a local all-in-one store) will have to be sent off to be fixed. If you own a Toyota, you mostly likely won’t drive to a Chevrolet dealership to have them work on your vehicle. Not because they don’t know automobiles, but because they don’t specialize in your particular model. Specialty music shops, like ours, are so familiar with the industry we can eliminate issues no matter what the cause!
When you spend $100 locally, 68% of that stays in the community rather than the smaller percentage that comes with larger retailers (Read that article here). Local businesses are more likely to give back to the community and spend their money within the community. Every dollar that stays in the community helps projects, schools, roads, charities, citizens, etc. Not just the money, but the overall vibe of the community.
What you can accomplish by shopping local
Every Pensacola native knows you need to go to Joe Patti’s for fresh seafood and Apple Market posts conversations with people who always ask to fix their iPhone. When Apple Market was afraid they would have to close their doors, the community banded together to make sure that family wouldn’t suffer that hardship! Without spending your money locally, there wouldn’t be any stories like this. The Palafox Market is held every Saturday. It is FILLED with local vendors that make a living doing what they love. You can shake the hand of the person that crafted the item you seek or raised the plants you wish to purchase. Shopping local is a personal experience. What places do you visit frequently?
Before you worry, this isn’t as dire as it sounds. However, when you’re headed to a concert and your string breaks, Amazon can’t have it here in time (or install it for you). When your child texts you from school, frantic because their last reed broke, you need something right now. Local shops are right there when you need them. However, if business is only given in the case of an emergency, one day the small business owner will have to lay people off and close the doors. Your favorite, small grocery store will be replaced with another Wal-Mart.
We care about your experience and rely heavily on your patronage. We hope to see you soon!