I was stunned.
There, in the middle of our nearby small town. There, in the entryway of one of the newest, trendiest, hippest, Big Box stores. There, right in front of me was a large, colorful sign right by a center register. And perhaps a sign of good things to come.
“We Love Our Community.”
On this very sign were more than half a dozen local small businesses, listed, by name and location. The variety of offerings, in bold lettering, included coffee shops and restaurants, a unique gym and several “fun” shops (such as a pottery painting store).
And right below, on a large display table, was a sign featuring products from smaller, product-focused area businesses, such as a handmade soap company and a picture frame business.
Wow! If you thought that as a small business owner, you’re in direct competition with the Big Guys, you may need to think again. This was clearly a love-fest.
Now, in defense of small businesses, this Big Box – an interior/exterior “design-like” company offering upscale furniture, home furnishings, and various other lifestyle items – clearly thought through its arrival in town very carefully – and very wisely.
They did their homework. They researched area businesses that would complement the lifestyles of their potential clientele. They also knew the town in which they had dropped anchor is filled with small businesses; many of which have been in operation for generations. As well as new shops opening up all around them.
Smartly, they reached out to these small businesses as if to say, “We want to work alongside you, not against you. In fact, we’re a ‘business,’ too, that wants to be ingrained in the community. So, let’s work together.”
What’s happening in your town or county? Are Big Box stores coming to your community? Are any of the larger stores reaching out to you or neighboring businesses? Do they attend Chamber of Commerce meetings? Do they want to be your colleague?
This concept of featuring local businesses inside a larger, big-name store is a great example of how the two spheres of business — large and small — can coexist (instead of collide).
Be the ambassador in your area, reach out, make this suggestion, and make it happen! You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.