Meet me halfway, local businesses

I feel strongly about supporting local businesses — they contribute to the character of my community so my job is to financially contribute to their success.

Their job is to make that possible.

If you make it hard for me to spend money in your shop, depending on how much I like you and your establishment, I might try try again. I might also give up.

With holiday party season upon us, Thursday evening I left work and headed home to Brooklyn with the express intent of buying a new dress at one of many boutiques down the street from us. But when I arrived at about 7:30 p.m., I found GirlCat, Kimera, Legacy, Sir, Council all closed. I walked past a whole row of shops with wonderful looking clothes and I would have been delighted to support their lovely aesthetic.

Maybe local retailers haven't gotten the memo, but a lot of women have entered the work force in the last few decades. That means we don't shop during bankers hours.

It’s a Thursday in December. Might someone want to do business with a retail establishment in the evening?

Perhaps there are enough stay-at-home moms in Brooklyn who shop during the day that it makes business sense to open at 11 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. But I’m going to make the radical proposal that some portion of women who work during the day have money in their wallets that they might like to spend during the time they’re not at work.

The reason I can afford to go shopping at a fancy boutique for a holiday dress is because I’m at work until the time you close, Boerum Hill shops.

Within a few minutes walk from where I found the lights out and gates down, I could have gone to Macy’s, Ann Taylor, MAC, Target, Banana Republic, Nine West — all still open at 8 p.m. At this time of year, Macy’s is open until 11 p.m

With a party this weekend and my heart set on a new dress, the easiest thing would have been to pop over a few blocks to Macy’s. I would have had hours to browse so there was no rush.

Instead, I stumbled onto Callalilai on my grumpy walk home. The saleswoman who rang up my purchase told me their usual closing time is 7 p.m. but they decided they need to stay open until 8 p.m. this time of year to make it easier on people who work.

I’ve written before about supporting local businesses — about committing to spending $50 a month at three businesses you love. If you aren’t open during the hours I can shop, you don’t have much of a chance of becoming a business I love.

Anyone care to comment on why a retail shop wouldn’t be open, say, noon to 9 p.m. weekdays?

Would-be shoppers, what could retailers do to help you shop local?


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Categories: lifestyle

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2 replies

  1. I have a lot of empathy for the hard work of being an entrepreneur of any kind — long hours, lots of risk, being personally on the hook for making enough to pay the bills each month.

    But it seems to me that just like you wouldn’t choose a retail location to be convenient for you — you want a spot where the potential customers are — it’s a basic that you want to do business in a way that’s convenient for customers: be open when your customers want to shop, take credit cards, have a reasonable return policy, answer your phone, etc.

    Every road block you put up that makes it easier to shop at the chains seems to make it that much harder to succeed.

  2. This post is spot-on. Life for small businesspeople, especially retailers, is tough, with lots of hours and hard work. It’s a rough way to make a living in my estimation. But that said, it escapes me why small retailers choose to be open only during hours that suit only the unemployed. If you’re going to be in the retail business, you need to be open when people with money are ready to buy, or you won’t survive.

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