Local merchants reported a significant amount of growth in business sales last weekend for Small Business Saturday. A joint effort was formed to promote shopping locally within Person County last weekend.
The Roxboro Area Merchants Association, Chamber of Commerce, Piedmont Community College Small Business Center and Uptown Development Group participated in this year’s Small Business Saturday.
“Last year was very successful and this year was outstanding. It was the biggest Small Business Saturday that we have ever had and I have talked to other businesses’ and they repeated the same thing about having a good Saturday,” said Furniture Mart owner Larry Cole.
Participating retail stores and businesses promoted having clientele shop locally by advertising sales for the weekend.
“We can stay in Roxboro and Person County and shop and not have to travel out of town. While we each have our own groups or our own businesses that may be a part of us we all work together to get the word out,” said Adam Cole who works in sales and advertising at Furniture Mart.
According to Larry Cole never in his 45 years of being in retail has he seen the amount of support from the community for shopping locally.
This year most of his customers aimed toward buying living room suits. Shopping locally differs from shopping at big box stores for many reasons like free local delivery and receiving packages within a guaranteed number of days.
“If people will give local merchants a chance they will find out prices are very competitive and in many times are less because of the small rural area. You don’t have the overhead that they have in Raleigh or in these big box stores,” said Cole.
The customer service workers who provide local delivery service are the same group of people who work within the store and can contact the sales department or Cole if there are any questions which is similar to the way most retail stores in the community function. Cole said big box stores’ delivery isn’t always free and the customer service employees sometimes work for a separate entity than the local retail store.
“It really makes a difference in the contact and response between the customer and the retailer. If you treat people right you can get (your questions answered) but if you give people an 800 number they are not as likely to call back,” said Cole.
“We specialize in the rural area that we are living in and we have customers that will go out of town and come back and say we couldn’t find anything like you’ve got. We try to be very personal and you can’t stay in business just selling to somebody one time. They’ve got to come back and I’ve had people whose kids and grandkids are buying from us now,” said Cole.