There are a lot of big myths out there about big box stores. They’re more convenient, more affordable, with more selection. Why shop at a specialty store when you can get a door, a sink, and a BBQ all at the same place?
Mega-chains have mega marketing budgets to make you think they’re better than the local options out there. They use taglines like, “More Saving. More Doing” to fool you into thinking you get more.A tagline like, “More Walking. More Spending” may be more accurate.
If you need a specialty product, you should get it from a specialty store. For example, if you need a garage door, go to a specialist like Dodds Garage Doors instead of someone who sells everything.
Shopping local can keep money in the local economy and keep more of it in your pocket. Here’s how.
- The Illusion of a Lower Price
Local stores are great if you don’t mind paying a little bit more, right? Wrong.
In a lot of cases, the product manufacturer decides the price, not the retailer. So, you can expect prices to be pretty much the same at big and small stores.
Maybe you see “pretty much” the same product at a big box store for less. Don’t be fooled. Often times, it’s not the same product.
Big box stores also demand price concessions from the manufacturer. So, the manufacturer may cut corners and offer a lesser product to the big box store, using cheaper materials.
You may save a few bucks at the big box store, but an inferior product costs you more in the long run.
- Big Box Stores Have Lots of Employees, But No Experts
Does this sound familiar? You finally find a parking space at the big box store, walk a few miles to the store, grab a cart, and start searching high and low for anyone who can point you in the right direction.
You’re lucky if you can find someone who can tell you what aisle your product is in… much less give you an informed opinion about which one you need.
You need someone who talks about the same product all day, every day. You need to know this is their career, not their part-time job.
The local guys are going to work harder for your business. The owner is likely right there in the store, so they’re accessible and accountable. They will probably even field a few of your questions themselves.
- Big Box Stores Seldom Stand Behind Their Products
If your product needs to be installed, a big box store likely isn’t going to do it. If they do, it is often more trouble than it’s worth when the dust settles.
A local business will oversee the installation themselves and follow through with any concerns after the fact.
Also, remember that big box stores have a high turnover. If something goes wrong in 8 months, odds are the employee that you talked to is gone. But at a local business, the person is probably still there and they probably even remember your name.
So, the next time you’re looking at a home improvement project, look at the local specialists first. You will probably get things done faster, with fewer headaches and for less money.