Some thoughts on brick and mortar retail. As you might imagine the subject is on my mind most of my waking hours, and sometimes when I sleep.
Early last month a long time friend, not a cyclist, asked me for a recommendation. Like myself, this individual has grandchildren of ages similar to mine. He asked me where I go to buy gifts for my grandsons. I asked what specifically he meant by the question. What he was looking for was a store where he could browse nicer quality gifts for the grandkids – not Target or Walmart – a store like the old days where a clerk would assist and ask what the kids like and how old they were. I knew of two such stores – none very close – but both fitting the needs of my friend. Both stores I have visited and spent time and money at each.
Intrigued, because I should be, I asked where he had been shopping for the grandkids. His reply was what I expected – online. So, I asked why now? What reason does he have to change his buying habits? His answer was one I wanted to hear – he wanted to see what was available, to walk through the store and look at options, something simply not possible online. He wanted the selection to prompt him with something new and fresh.
Further, he wished for a clerk who knew the product, who could help steer him toward great choices. I know this person well so the following statement is not one that I would make to everyone in this situation – but I said ‘why now after 10 years of buying gifts for the grandchildren online, would you expect that store to still exist?’ I continued ‘what if everyone had acted as you have – you would not now have the limited, but still available, option to actually go and shop for a great gift.’ He got my point.
Interestingly, the exact same scenario played out several months earlier when another great friend asked me where I bought my gardening implements. A similar conversation took place.
There is a great case to be made that top quality brick and mortar retail plays a very important part in how we shop. We work very hard at Race Pace Bicycles to make shopping in a physical store an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. We have for over 40 years and will continue to strive to do so.
By the way, I buy virtually nothing online. I have no interest in sending the money that is generated locally out of our regional economy. It is in my interest and the interest of all the local businesses at which I shop for our micro-economy to be the best it can be. Dig down a few layers and almost every dollar spent locally has an impact on you or a neighbor or a family member.
thanks – peace