“Buy Local” is a two-way street

I have owned a downtown bead store, Beads and Beyond, for 27 years. The business is somewhere between retail and wholesale. I support the "Buy Local" [campaign] and feel I provide a service to the crafters in this area. Lately I have had a growing number of artists who complain about [my] prices. "I can get it cheaper online," they say.

A customer came in — he ran out of silver wire. He asked my price and told me he can get it online for less from Reo Grande Co., a giant company. So we call Reo to find out their price and it is $2 less, plus $5 shipping. I told him I would match their price. So what did he do? He calls REO from my store and ordered from REO. Now I never want a customer to pay too much for something, but really.

[Shortly thereafter], a glass artist came in to see if I would like to purchase her work. I purchased some items for the shop.

There are so many businesses downtown with goods that can be ordered online. I also compete with two wholesale bead shows at the Civic Center each year, so it is difficult to compete as it is.

So I would like the artists in the community to remember that Buy Local is a two-way street.

— Barry Olen

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5 thoughts on ““Buy Local” is a two-way street

  1. travelah

    I generally try to buy best quality and price regardless of where it was made although all things being equal or at least close, I will buy USA and local first. I’m not going to pay considerably more to buy local but I’ll buy consistently if the prices are in a reasonably comparable range. I think most people are still like that although admittedly the internet is changing the picture.

  2. travelah

    One “buy local” issue that is a problem for me is the purchase of books. I can purchase books on-line much faster, find what I’m looking for and get it delivered within two days without having to go anywhere. That is not good for local book sellers and I feel bad about it to some degree. However, I can buy a third more books over the course of a year and within specialties that have limited selections locally. Of course the local seller can order the book but having price shopped that alternative, the cost is far higher than I care to pay.

  3. bill smith

    If you want to see a local business survive, then be willing to support them financially. After all, as the letter-writer points out, we all end up supporting each other.

  4. I feel you Barry. Thankfully in my business I feel we have garnered a lot of support from the artistic community. We have provided enough crazy films to give them nightmares!

    On a larger scale, it’s funny online sales are given a free pass from many “shop local” advocates. It’s an incorrect assumption that everything online is cheaper.

    Once again dealing with my business, the only competition I really have anymore is online for rentals or sales so I price my product accordingly. I don’t expect everybody to shop local exclusively, but don’t shop online exclusively either. Support the community that you live in by using us SOME. Isn’t that why many of us moved here to begin with?

    Remember that almost always ZERO dollars you spend online stay local.

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