While Lance was in school today Lil' and I went to a local shopping center to get valentines for our family. As luck would have it we finished our card shopping with 25 minutes extra before we had to pick up Lance from school, so there wasn't enough time to go home, but it was too early to go pick him up so I decided to walk down to the children's store. As we approached I noticed that the sign out front said that the store was closing. This store has been around in one form or another for at least 10 years, I was surprised it was closing, but then again not, it is a boutique with overly priced items, but then again it has been there for a LONG time. Upon arriving home I jumped on facebook and looked up the children's store to see when they had announced they were closing, when they planned to close for good, and if they said why. For some reason, I happen to click on a link to another local store, this one an upscale clothing store in the same area and was surprised to see that they too were having a closing sale. I had never set foot into this clothing store, it was a bit intimidating since I probably could not afford a pair of socks and I feel weird looking at clothes that are way out of my price range, but I felt bad they were closing before I ever walked in. I guess as a fellow small business owner, I feel bad that they didn't succeed.
These store closing got me thinking.
The bad economy is really making an impact here, though I am not sure why it took so long, people joke that our city is a few years behind everyone else, and maybe there is some truth to that. Business has been hard for us since the middle of 2008, and hopefully it will get better though, these two store closing scare me, what if this downturn is not over, what if things are going to get worse or am I comparing apples to oranges (comparing a skateboard/bicycle shop to a high end clothing store).
Store closings had me reflecting on our business.
We are looking into moving into a new space, it has lots of positives, but the one BIG negative is the increase in rent. If things continue the way they are going we aren't going to be able to pay a higher rent, but hopefully things will pick up and we can, but we don't know. Rumors are going around that gas is going to be $5 a gallon by the end of this year which means everything increases, rubber prices are increasing so much that bicycle inner tubes are going up $1 in price (since they are 3-4 dollars, that is a big jump), and when prices and fuel increase, spending on extras goes down and that could really hurt us.
Every year we keep thinking that this year will be our year, but are we just being foolish, is the writing on the wall, should we be closing down too before we get any further in the hole? Are things really going to get better? Is it possible to be a successful small, local business in a world with free shipping and big box stores?
No matter what, SHOP LOCAL!