Sunday, January 10, 2010

What Community Do You Support?

I am watching my dream, my antique shop, die on the vine. I have come to a place of acceptance with it. I know that I have not done anything wrong. My business is well managed, we advertise as much as financially possible, we provide above excellent customer service, our books are in order, we do not pay ourselves... we work to pay the bills. We have fought the good fight but despite all of this people don't take the time to stop in and see the many wonderful, affordable items we have for sale.

The problem is the community mindset; "walmart charges less for a better quality item, they will make my life wonderful and worth living again." Of course the big box stores can afford TV commercials to brainwash the public that they have their best interest at heart, we are all in this together b***s***. They don't tell you how much of the money you spend in their big box stores goes off into another community probably in another state, they don't tell you that your hard earned money will give their CEO another million dollar raise, they don't tell you that they are getting tax subsidies in your community (they don't pay taxes on their property) and will move on to another area when it comes time for them to start paying their taxes.

My little shop can't afford television ads to let the community know that we, the owner's are struggling just like they are and will do anything in our power to provide them with a high quality item on whatever terms they can afford. When we make a purchase on inventory we buy from other American small businesses and try to buy from local businesses when possible. Several of my wholesaler's are in Johnson County.

I won't get into how my city, Lenexa, Kansas has one set of signage rules for businesses in my area and another set of rules for the rest of the city which boils down to I cannot have a sign on my shop that can be seen from the street. Or the fact that they have allowed the Lenexa Parks and Rec. to raise the facility rental rates at the community center which makes it impossible for the antique show promoter to have his antique show across the tracks from my shop (this show has been held for over 20 yrs.), I am sure it will also impact in a very negative way the other smaller shows that are held there year round which bring business into my shop. I think the city has cut its own balls off in spite of itself, they don't see the revenue that these shows bring into the community... but that is not the point of this post. We all know how I feel about this stinking city.

What can YOU do? Have you asked yourself what YOU can do about the current state of the economy? YOU are helpless, YOU can play a major role in the recovery of YOUR community. You might even save a small independent business or two while you're at it.
Pick 3. Spend 50. Save your local economy. . . . . .
(1) Pick 3 independently owned local businesses to actively support through purchases. Those transactions are what keep small business IN business, after all;
(2) If half the employed U.S. population spent just $50 each month with independently owned local businesses, more than $42.6 billion would be generated annually. Imagine what would be possible if 3/4 of the population did that;
(3) For every $100 spent in independently owned local businesses, $68 returns to the local economy, as opposed to only $43 from purchases made in chains, big boxes, and franchises. Purchases made online bring nothing home. . . . . .

The 3/50 Project is all about positive momentum, building consumer loyalty to independent, locally owned businesses through plain talk and voiced appreciation while simultaneously building their local economies. . . .
YOU can make a community-changing decision the next time you pop out to do a little shopping. Drive or walk right past the big box stores and seek out a locally owned small business. You might be very surprised at the prices you find as well as the quality of wares they have for sale.
In the end we will all benefit.


Anonymous said...

I am saddened by your current post, at least the overall sadness that your words project. Your words however fuel me in my own endeavors as I have spent the better part of this day brainstorming with myself and the internet. To understand why, please visit my web sites at and (this last site is just up and running and still in the works)You can also google my name - Bev Hamel. I would like to encourage you to hold on to your dreams, because without our dreams and striving to achieve them . . . what would we become? I have ideas, and there are many of us like you and me out there - I have traversed the world today and am ready to attack my own small world. Please keep in mind that our economy and politics are cyclic. I sense that the winds are changing again. Your shop looks much like mine as does your philosophy (I am a 350 project supporter). This month alone, my business has seen an increase in traffic and in sales.I am cleaning, scrubbing, re-arranging, and changing. Maybe we can be of help and support to each other?

Russ said...

"They don't tell you how much of the money you spend in their big box stores goes off into another community probably in another state"
Actually the money is going to another country, most likely China. I have an antiques and estate liquidation biz in NY, and we're suffering from similar dismal problems here. Barely making enough to meet our overhead, though I feel lucky to still keep the doors open. So many of our colleagues have gone under in the last 12 months. It's a crying shame....

Anonymous said...

I was looking for inspiration for an article about the thrill of the hunt - for ephemera, etc, to use in artwork, and happened upon your post here.

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Heaven knows how much I LOVE an antique store. The smell and the dust that jacks up my contacts... the thrill of the "find."

We are living through a difficult time. I am in California, with an unemployed husband, and a house in foreclosure. I know what it is like to deal with government and economic agencies still operating under an old paradigm, who do not know how to adjust to the times at hand.

I am compelled to comment, just to let you know - in this difficulty there is something bright on the horizon. I feel it in my bones.


Erica said...

Hi Michelle,
I enjoy reading your blog posts. They are straight from the heart.
Good luck with your business. Hoping things pick up for all of us.

Anonymous said...

It's tough to hear your troubles, but the fact of the matter is that standard brick-and-mortar antique shops are going to have a hard time surviving... even in the current economic climate.

It isn't that Walmart and other big chain stores with newer items are in. There are PLENTY of people who want that vintage look inside a modern shell in their homes.

The Internet is the easiest way and the cheapest way to beat any brick-and-mortar business nowadays... and if you aren't part of it, you're left to the vultures.

I run my mother's 70-year-old vintage clothing business turned antique and collectibles business, and moving to the Internet, even in today's economy, is very lucrative.

Sure, have your brick-and-mortar store going for the culture, the people, the walk-ins, and the meeting of new people, but in the back... run an online business to pay the bills and keep the ship afloat. It'll more than likely make you profit.

Sell for what items are WORTH TO THE CUSTOMER, not what a book says. An antique is only worth what somebody will pay for it.

Sad to see the store shut down though. Hope to see a re-birth at some point.