A Small Big Mistake

Howdy folks, time for a quick change of pace.  Figured you needed a break from the barrage of Indy Zoo pictures that have been thrown at you as of late.  Randomly selecting a topic from the blog idea list resulted in today’s topic of Service.  The irony is we usually spend our time railing against poor service against the larger corporations – the Bigs if you will.  These larger outfits can usually weather any annoying complaints by their customers merely based on the overall volume of business they do.  However, it is my sad fortune to recount a disheartening experience with a local establishment – or as they are commonly referred to… the Small.  You may not know, but I do try to support Smalls possible.  By definition I am therefore willing to sacrifice a little convenience and likely pay a little more for a given item due to being unable to leverage the high volume discounts of the Bigs.  The trade off is we benefit a local establishment and in turn the larger community as a whole.  The benefit to us – Smalls are more attentive to pleasing their customers and the service is rarely anything but outstanding.  Let me repeat that for emphasis –  Smalls are more ATTENTIVE to PLEASING their customers and the SERVICE is rarely anything but OUTSTANDING.

There are three Smalls I focus on supporting every chance I get.  One is Running Central where almost all my running gear comes from.  Although they have since moved a little closer to where I live, it is still a healthy trek to make it there.  With the ever increasing gas prices (thanks current administration) this can add up,  especially since we have a Big sporting store less than 15 minutes from my house.  The staff is all runners themselves and are very helpful with all my running/nutrition/therapy questions.  True to form, their prices tend to be slightly higher but walking into a store where they greet you with a smile and know you personally easily trumps that downside.  Another Small Linda and I enjoy supporting is Emack and Bolio’s.  If you have not heard of them, they are a gourmet ice cream store.  Ours is actually located very close to Running Central making trips to get running stuff extra sweet.  One could argue that it is a chain, but it is locally owned and the two guys that own it always greet us personally and make our experience quite pleasurable. If you are in the Peoria area, get yourself to Peoria Heights – you will not be disappointed (especially you Cold Stone people).  The third small is a place in Bartonville called Presley’s Outdoors.  They are a sporting goods, hunting, camping outdoorsy outfitter.  Now getting to this location takes us close to 40 minutes and more importantly I pass right by two competing Bigs to get there.  Not to mention 40 minutes in a slightly angled trajectory gets me to a Mega (as in pull from far and wide corporations).  It would be significantly easier to purchase most of my goods at the Bigs I pass, but again… the intent is to help the Smalls survive in a competitive market.  Last year I made some significant purchases at this store and although I have not gone back and tallied up the actual numbers (YET) the smaller purchases likely added up to a pretty penny as well.  An amount that would represent a premium over the same purchases at a Big or Mega.  From a business perspective, this inherently poses a risk.  Breaking the trust or tarnishing the brand can result in loss of loyalty – loss of loyalty can make that 10 minute trek look a whole lot more appealing than a 40 minute trek.  If you can obtain equally bad service in less time .. less time ALWAYS wins out.

Hit the jump to find out how a mighty Small crumbled

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