ShopLocal-November-2013 - page 2

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WEDNESDAY, November 27, 2013
the Garden City Telegram
The Challenge
Photos by Amanda Thompson/Telegram
Top:
A variety of watches can be
found at Gipson Diamond Jewelers.
Middle Left:
The Vera Bradley line
now carries baby items! Available
at Porter’s Flowers & Gifts.
Middle
Right:
A reflection is shown of
the tree in J&M House of Lights’
front window.
Bottom:
Christine
Alexander sweaters made with
Swarovski crystals are top sellers at
Wheatfields on Main.
By LONA DUVALL, President
Finney County Economic Development
Corporation
Special to The Telegram
I
t is that time of year when we all
head to the stores to look for those
one-of-a-kind gifts. As you head out,
please bear in mind the importance
of shopping with our local retailers.
Remember the commitment that they
have made to Garden City over the
years and know that when you make
their cash drawers open you are actu-
ally helping yourself and your com-
munity. Strong local retailers make
our community more attractive to new
businesses and to new residents. They
show the personality of our city to
the rest of the world. Their unique-
ness and personal service can never be
replaced by national retail chains.
With sales tax revenues up approxi-
mately $100,000 per month since the
opening of Menard’s, there is little
question that the new national retail-
ers are attracting shoppers to our
community. If you drive through the
parking lots at these stores, you will
find a wide variety of communities
from throughout our trade area rep-
resented there. Garden City has obvi-
ously arrived as the “retail hub” of
western Kansas. The challenge now is
to continue to capitalize on those new
visitors and find ways to direct them
to our locally owned businesses in the
more established shopping neighbor-
hoods and to our thriving downtown
district.
The increased traffic in Garden City
is certainly a positive thing, but many
are concerned about the competition
it creates for some of our existing
locally owned businesses. All indica-
tors are that new retail destinations
are in fact a positive and not a nega-
tive. Competition is not a bad thing.
If little or no competition was the
answer, then one could not explain
why so many area towns that histori-
cally had one grocery store, one res-
taurant and one hotel, etc. are now
left with none of those businesses
represented. Consumers want choice.
They want to be able to comparison
shop and see plenty of options before
they make buying decisions. Success
breeds success. These large national
retailers help to drive area shoppers
into our community…shoppers that
many of our locally owned businesses
would miss out on marketing to if
they weren’t being attracted here by
the “big boxes”.
When these national retailers make
a commitment to doing business in
Garden City they are actually helping
to ensure that the existing businesses
we have in town are viable and valu-
able. Locally owned businesses often
don’t have “legacy plans” in place.
In many situations, there is no son
or daughter to take over the family
business. In many communities the
retirement or death of a business
owner results in the business being
shuttered. However, when retail busi-
nesses are continuing to experience
sales growth due to a bustling local
economy and new shoppers coming to
town, those stores have a good chance
of being sold to new owners who can
continue to provide the personal shop-
ping experience that their customers
have grown accustomed to.
Fortunately our local retailers are
sophisticated business owners and
know that they must embrace the new
customers who are being drawn to
Garden City. They continue to grow
their product lines, provide the excel-
lent customer service they are known
for and ensure that they are being cre-
ative in their store hours and product
offerings so that they are making the
most of the new customer base.
As residents of Garden City and
the surrounding region, we can do our
part to see continued growth and offer-
ings by remembering our local retail-
ers. Never miss an opportunity to rec-
ommend a local business to those look-
ing for particular items and, if there
is a product that you aren’t finding at
a local retailer, ask about it. Let them
know there is a need and you’ll prob-
ably find they will do what they can to
accommodate your request. Above all,
shop with our local retailers and ser-
vice providers every chance you get.
They are the heart of our community
and they show the world who we are.
TO DIRECT SHOPPERS
TO LOCAL BUSINESSES
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