Is ‘SHOP LOCAL’ Losing the Battle?

From a Venice resident and shop owner:

UPS and FEDEX did not get a lot of packages delivered this holiday season and the public is outraged. We as people are all extremely busy which at times makes us single minded, outraged when technology does not work as promised and quick to point fingers. As a small business owner, I have been biting my tongue for many, many years. After an extremely dismal holiday season this is the tipping point for me and I guess I feel it is my turn to point fingers … at ourselves.

Local

Why was UPS and FEDEX overwhelmed and for the first time ever, not able to get all of your packages delivered before Christmas? Because online sales experienced a 15% increase over last year. A 15% increase over an already monstrous sales figure– almost $43 BILLION to be exact.

The public is quick to use the mantra – SHOP LOCAL, but when push comes to shove most people are choosing to log onto their computer versus step out of their house. I can say this with confidence because year after year after year, sales in my store as well as my neighbor’s stores has decreased drastically. And online sales continue to increase all at your local businesses expense.

As a small business owner for many years, I can assure our prices are not higher than the online stores you are shopping or else we would quickly be out of business. We often times can help you choose the best gift, personally wrap the gift and absolutely assure you it will be under the tree Christmas morning.

If a small percentage of these outraged customers who did not receive their packages in time for Christmas morning, SHOPPED LOCAL it would make an enormous difference in our local economies. Local shops would stay in business throughout the year, UPS and FEDEX would be able to deliver their packages and you would have your presents under the tree on Christmas morning. It sounds so simple.

I prefer to stay anonymous because I do not want to sound like a victim. I knew what I was getting into when I first opened; this is my second time around. I love owning my own business regardless of the incredible amount of stress and I especially love my customers. I am a small business off of Abbot Kinney. Five years ago, I tried to open on Abbot Kinney, however, I lost out to several corporate stores who offered more than the asking price and longer lease deals. I have a beautiful space that I love but I am not on the ‘Coolest Street In America”. I listen to the outrage over the stores on Abbot Kinney. I listened to people who say they won’t shop at these stores or online because they want to support their local businesses, but in the end…. well they do. You do. We all do.

The 15% increase of online sales is 15% not spent in local businesses. I am writing this because as you see small businesses close throughout the year, we need to be reminded of this number. The amount of sales a small business needs to succeed is so miniscule compared to corporate chains or online stores. Sales that would make me as an owner jump for joy would outrage a corporate store. My goals are not at all to become rich, they are only to survive and take one – two days a week off of work. A tenth of one percent of this 15% increase would change a small business owner’s year. I am one of those owners that need to decide this year if I continue, if I CAN financially continue. The outlook is bleak but I still am trying to find hope. I wonder every day if it is time to stop fighting the inevitable and admit to myself that small shops are truly dying.

UPS and FEDEX drivers are some of my favorite people who stop into my business. They put a smile on my face regardless of the day I am having or the day they are having delivering our packages. My driver even took the time to give me a quick hug on a particularly bad week of sales during the holiday season. He expressed concern for all of the businesses on the street because he had been hearing the same complaints from all owners. If you did not have your packages under the tree this Christmas please stop pointing the finger for just a minute and think, how could I have avoided this from happening. And if you don’t think of it now, think of it the next time you go past a small business with a Going Out of Business sign in their window. And please, tell your UPS and FEDEX drivers ‘Thank You’. It really is not their fault.