The best thing about Americans, I think, is our ability to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again, as the song says.
Admittedly, that may seem pretty difficult in these challenging times. But I’m beginning to see and hear indications that there is more positive thinking out there – and more people deciding to actually do something, not just worry and fret.
My morning newspaper reported today that a group of local restaurateurs (no chains or even franchises) had banded together to put out a flyer highlighting special offers and budget menus.
“We don’t want anyone to fail,” one owner said, “It’s in support of each OTHER so that we can all win, so that we can survive this economy.”
While not slamming their bigger competitors, these guys are using their limited marketing dollars to make a bigger impression.
Wouldn’t that work for smaller retailers in your market?
There are some good ideas coming to fruition out there. Here’s another one I particularly like. In the small South Carolina town of Aiken last month, the local newspaper’s managing editor came up with a good news idea that also became a good revenue idea for the paper and local merchants.
In talking with a business professor at the Aiken campus of the University of South Carolina, Mike Gibbons asked if everyone in the community spent $20 in one day, would it make a difference.
The answer: it did. The newspaper sold small business-card size ads for $20 and asked advertisers to promote one $20 item. There was a front-page story about the day and more than 50 businesses participated. The businesses included a local jewelry store, Dillard’s department store, restaurants and a yoga studio (she sold 35 $20 classes).
The best thing about this promotion, I think, is that there was a community working together to help each other. And by the way, they’ll do it again May 20.
Last week, when I opened my email, I had personal messages from two local retail shop owners. Each began, “Hi Becky” and each specifically promoted an event at their store. One was a Saturday barbeque (that’s big in our part of North Carolina) to kick off their spring sale of outdoor products and the other was a ‘special customer’ sale.
I like that special attention and I remember it when I visit their stores. Other shoppers will, too.
There are plenty of good ideas out there – someone just has to throw off the “poor-me” shawl and end the pity party. Doing nothing certainly isn’t going to solve the problems.