August 1, 2019
Small businesses love small towns, and vice versa
Author: Jen Amundson, Deluxe Director of Social Media and Communications
It sounds idyllic, opening a little shop of your own in a small town. You would serve your neighbors, choose your own path and be your own boss. The reality doesn’t always match those lovely words, and I would definitely miss the anonymity of city living, but the small business owners we talked to on the Top 10 Town Tour resoundingly loved the small-town life.
Small business has service at its heart, which is custom-made for small town living, where a few people have to meet all the needs. Knowing what your customers want is key. Nic Davidson owns a comic book shop in Corsicana, Texas, where he takes care of a select group of customers. In his words, not ours, “I decided to open up here in this town and kind of provide what I know a bunch of other nerds wanted in a small town.” We love that.
The same goes for Arlington Hardware and Lumber in Arlington, Washington, where manager Amanda Zuanich talks about how the store finds its direction. “The community is what makes the store,” she says. “It’s what the store is all about and always has been about. Serving the people in our local area the best we can and providing them with all the different things they need for their houses and their stuff at home.”
A tight-knit community also supports small businesses. From coast to coast, we heard about the close relationships businesses had formed with their customers, who came in week after week to buy what they needed: lunch, haircuts, paint, accounting services, absolutely everything.
Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool and nowhere is that more evident than in those communities where everyone knows each other. Nicole Deason, owner of NetPros in Pageland, South Carolina put it succinctly, pointing to her co-owner husband: “His dad knows a lot of people.”
Of course, it can cut both ways. If someone has a bad experience, they can spread that news as well. But the reputation a small business owner builds in their community isn’t usually a one-time interaction. Familiarity can buy the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that’s why business owners in small towns work so hard to make sure they do the job right. They know they are going to need that customer again.
Looking for more thoughts about small business? You can find resources in the Deluxe Small Business Resource Center.