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