Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision. –Peter Drucker
I am a firm believer in supporting local small businesses. They offer a level of customer service that big chains just can’t touch. They also understand people in our area. The needs of someone in northeast Florida may be quite different from the needs of a customer in New York City.
Small business thrive on personal relationships. These business owners work hard to make their businesses successful, and it shows in the way they interact with the public.
One of my favorite Jacksonville businesses is 1st Place Sports. They started as one store, and now they have six stores in our area. Really, they are a small local chain. Customer service is extremely important to the employees at this running store, and you can tell that by the way each person is greeted when he/she enters.
As a runner, my shoes are my most important piece of equipment. Trying to run in the wrong shoes can be disastrous. (I wish more people understood that!) When you go to a big chain, you just kind of have to figure out for yourself what the best shoe for you might be. Often, decisions are based on color and style–instead of proper fit and form.
Some runners (like me) are neutral runners. Our feet don’t turn in or out as we run. There are only certain kinds of shoes that will fit us properly. If I accidentally purchased a shoe made for someone who pronates, that would NOT be good. As people who naturally pronate run, their feet either turn in or turn out. And they need shoes that will help them correct that as they run.
At 1st Place Sports, the staff is trained to evaluate each person shopping for shoes. The store associate uses a special mat to evaluate which parts of your feet you are putting the most pressure on. He will watch you walk. And maybe even run a bit. He may even have you run a bit on a treadmill. Then, he will determine what type of runner you are. You’ll be able to try on three or four shoes that are a good fit for you. Usually, they are from different brands. You will leave with the perfect pair of running shoes!
This is just one small example of a local Jacksonville business who knocks it out of the park.
And small business owners give back to the community. You help them put their families and realize their dreams.
There are also so many locally owned restaurants that absolutely blow the big chains away!
So shop locally. Buy locally. Eat locally.