We live in a town of about 5600 people, 35 miles north west of Washington, DC. This town used to be the exurbs and now we are a suburb to some of the outlying areas with businesses who support the federal government. To get to any major shopping, movie theater or restaurant (except McDonald's and a couple pizza joints) you have to drive for at least 25-30 minutes on back roads.
We have a grocery store in town, owned and operated by the same family for 4 generations. When we first moved to town, 12 years ago, it's where we did all our shopping. About 2 years ago, a grocery store with some renown for good produce and excellent customer service (returns receive 120% of original cost in refund) moved in about 15 minutes away on the only road that leads to town. We started shopping there, fresh fish market, great sales and lovely produce. Prices are slightly higher but food is of an equivalent quality.
When we run out of something urgently needed, we go to the local family owned store. But our big weekly shopping has moved to the larger chain store. I love our local store and would hate to see it go. The convenience can't be beat but they haven't remodeled in 12 years. It's a little dingy, old and sorely outdated.
Two weeks ago, we received a letter that was mailed to all the families within a 5 mile radius of the local family store. The inevitable had happened. With the combined effects of unemployment, hard economic times and the chain grocery opening up down the road, the family was struggling to stay open. They asked two things of the community. Please tell them what they need to do to win back our business and please come back and shop at their store. If things don't turn around soon, they will be forced to close.
It's a tough decision. Do I stick with the shop I know and need or the big guys who have the volume and the prices to survive this tough economy? Do I turn my back on the family I know and see every where in our little community or do I shop where I get better selection? Do you support the family owned and run business knowing that if you and your neighbors do not, it will go under or do you go where it's bright lights and big choices? I find myself confronted with this challenge in many aspects of my daily life lately.
What would you do?