San Francisco, always at the forefront of trends, has started trending toward shopping local. Meaning, preserving the integrity of their streetscapes by keeping chains out and supporting local businesses that sell goods created in the local market.
While the verbal scrapping continues as to whether this is economic brilliance or insanity, landlords seem to be adopting the stance as a way to preserve communities and support the uniqueness of those communities.
Here in Los Angeles, Abbot Kinney Boulevard in the seaside community of Venice somehow allowed a Pinkberry frozen yogurt chain to slip through, and its opening caused outrage in the community as a national chain blighted this unique shopping street. The community was so incensed they boycotted the store, eventually causing its demise.
I’ve always been a proponent of this type of local endeavor for one simple reason: it truly nurtures and supports those very people that help a community thrive – local small business owners. Unique merchandise, an authentic experience, a store owner who loves to tell stories – all of these are reasons small stores create unique experiences for shoppers.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Creating a unique experience through locally produced goods can be THE reason customers shop your store.
While it’s okay to carry brand-name merchandise, it’s the unique merchandise that people are going to want. I’ve worked with stores that have carried locally produced goods – from candles to art, jewelry to pottery and more. And the commonality between all of those goods is that it gives store owners something to talk about. And you’d be surprised at the number of customers who LOVE the fact that the goods are locally produced, and buy them as a result.
So the next time you’re looking for a line to carry, why not find out if there’s something available that’s produced locally. Your customers will thank you for supporting the local community by buying the products.
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