Here at PayGo, we like to talk about what we’re doing. And even though we’ve been busy with our Knowledgebase gremlins, our WooCommerce integration, and all of our other updates, and assorted magic and technological witchery (that’s what happens in those tech meetings, right? The programmers keep telling me no and to stop burning sage outside of their offices, but I know what I saw, Ethan), we want to take a moment to talk about you.
Yes you, dear reader and amazing independent retailer!
While other people were content to join up and follow someone else’s vision, you knew you had something great in your brain that the world needed. And even though it was tough, and the hours were long, and things didn’t always work out as planned, you achieved your dream!
But we know that independent work is a hard and often thankless job. We started out small too, after all. We’ve walked that road and we’re proud that you’ve entrusted us to walk along with you. Since you don’t hear it enough, we want you to know how important you are.
Let us count the ways!
1. You’ve given your community a place of their own.
I spent several memorable years working at an art gallery/gift shop here in small-town Minnesota. For every new exhibit, event and shipment, we would see a parade of regulars walk through to see what we were up to. When asked, our regulars would talk about how they loved to come in and see the new art, to catch up with the employees and each other, and to buy gifts for their friends and family that were more “personal” and special than getting something anyone could pick up at a chain store. Our artists were all local, and we had a personal relationship with all of them. They loved being able to sell their art, something that was so important to them, to the people that they lived and worked with. We would have gallery receptions and events where our artists would meet our customers, so they could forge new relationships with each other. That one small store gave far more back to the community than any giant blocky building full of impersonal goods ever could.
I’m sure this is a familiar story, though, because you see the same thing every day in your stores. You’ve created something that you love, and much like pet hair or the flu, the love that you put into your work spreads to everyone you come near.
You’re providing a personal touch to your shoppers.
Way too many years ago, I used to work near a small, locally-owned teriyaki joint. The food was pretty similar to other teriyaki places, but I kept coming back for the people. It was owned by a sweet old lady and staffed by a bunch of employees who would run out of the kitchen to greet me every day, and they all knew exactly how I liked my chicken bowl. They knew what all of their locals liked, and for that reason, their dining room was always packed full.
When you love what you sell and what you do, your employees do too. They care about your success, and they care about the customers that come into your store. They know your products and where they came from, and they love giving that information to your shoppers. And without the impersonal rules and regulations and rigid structures that big national chains hang over their heads, employees feel a bit freer to really connect with their customers. And your customers will remember that.
Sweet, delicious customer service.
Independent and local business owners are basically superheroes.
We’ve all seen the movies every summer for the past (refuses to admit age) years where some spectacularly Spandexed superhero spends their time and trust funds saving and protecting the city and the people that they love. Everyone wants to be super, but you’ve already put in the work. According to a study done in Chicago, $68 for every $100 spent at a local business stays in the community, compared to a paltry $43 for a chain. And even better, every $100 spent at a local or independent business generates $45 of secondary spending within the community, as compared to $14 with chains. So you may not be defeating nefarious villains named after multi-appendaged deep sea creatures or abrasive carpet cleaners (unless that’s one of your hobbies), but you’re doing a lot of good for your community. And with far less collateral damage!
So cheers to you, visionaries! Cheers to your tireless work and your sleepless nights! Cheers to your love, your accomplishments and your accolades! Cheers to your wonderful work for your community, for your employees and for the world! Cheers to every moment of chaos, every quirk of fate, and every little amazing moment that reminds you why you do what you do!
And thank you from the bottom of our hearts that you’ve made us part of your journey.
PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.