Tag Archives: small business

“Thank you for your business”

What a week of contrasts — thankfulness and greed. Just hours after we finished our Thanksgiving meal with family and gave thanks to all we have in our lives, people lined up to rush into stores to grab a good deal. Some people fought to get what they wanted. Thanksgiving has become Black Friday or Gray Thursday. Whatever you call it, corporate greed and survival is the focus on a day we’re supposed to be reflective and thankful for what we have.

Black Friday camper.

You can’t just blame the stores. Shoppers are so desperate to gobble up the doors they line up a week early.

This holiday, the stakes are higher than ever. Stores are desperate to pad their bottom line, as Internet businesses are making it tough for retail stores to keep their doors open. I think some retailers will disappear before the next shopping season if their sales are not good. Stores have all sorts of gimmicks and promotions to get you to shop like Thanksgiving day doorbusters and price matching policies even for Internet stores and prices. That’s an unprecedented move as retailers are desperate to keep their doors open.

Gordon Square. Cleveland, OH

It’s not just corporations looking to keep their doors open, but small businesses as well. The mom and pop stores of the world. The ones opened by your neighbors who live in your community and support it when their business thrives. Saturday, the corporate credit card company American Express, is promoting “Small Business Saturday.”

It’s a way to get you to support your local business. The ones that are the framework of your community. For every $25 you spend at a participating AmEx small business, you’ll get a $25 statement credit. It’s a free $25. A nice incentive to support your local stores.

I stopped in a few the other day, and I must say it opened my eyes to the unique gifts and good people behind these storefronts that I buzz by every day. You really can find gifts you won’t find anywhere else. You may pay a bit more for your gift, but you get so much more.

Service anyone? When was the  last time you got service at a store? It’s a rarity at a big business. Free gift wrap and packaging? It’s just part of the standard package at a small business. Check one out this weekend. I think you’ll be surprised.

I got a surprise from a local business this week — unrelated to holiday shopping. I needed three tire valve caps to keep the air pressure in our tires. I went to Lakefront Automotive Parts in Cleveland to pick up the caps. I like walking in there because the staff is friendly and always willing to help you find what you need. You’re in and out in less than five minutes and get service with a smile.

The salesman told me they didn’t sell just three caps. They came in a packet of 100. I was willing to accept it and go someplace else. Then, he grabbed the package off the shelf. He opened it up and handed me three. He said, “We’ll get you next time. Have a great day.”

I offered to pay and he refused. The cost  would have been less than a $1, but it didn’t matter. It was the gesture that will remain in my mind. He went out of his way to make sure I was a satisfied customer. It’s something you hardly get anymore. Such a small thing, but it left a big impression on me. It’s the small things in life that leave the most lasting impressions.

Don’t forget to Shop a store this holiday that truly is thankful for your business.

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Post Office wants small businesses to keep sending junk mail

Consumers often look for ways to get rid of all their junk mail. It not only reduces waste, but it also reduces your risk for identity theft. Those pre-approved credit card offers are a dream to a thief looking to steal your personal information. There are agencies that help consumers get rid of this unwanted mail. As those campaigns have grown side campaigns like Mail Moves America have kickstarted to stall the stop junk mail efforts. Now, the Post Office is directly appealing to small businesses to continue sending that mail.

The Post Office launched the web-based service, “Every Door Direct Mail.”  It’s a way to market to small businesses with a simple way to reach every address every time.  The Post Office campaign says for as little as $14.5 cents you can send mailers to everyone in a neighborhood. No need to know the names or addresses of the people living in that area.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, and the Postal Service plays an important role in enabling their growth and commercial success,” said Paul Vogel, president and chief marketing/sales officer, U.S. Postal Service.  “We are providing a suite of mailing and shipping services tailored to the needs of small businesses to help them compete for customers and run their operations more efficiently.”

If you’d like to join the cause, there are sites like Mail Moves America that promotes the jobs associated with the direct mail industry. The companies say 3.5 million jobs are connected to direct mail, and that more than 300,000 small businesses depend on this type of advertising.

If you’d still like to get rid of that excess mail and stop the constant shredding, opt out for pre-approved credit cards and insurance offers. You can do this by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or opt out online. You will need to give your social security number as it’s linked to your credit report.

The Direct Marketing Association, which coincidentally runs the “Mail Moves America” campaign along with businesses, also supports consumers with a Preference Service that allows you to get your name off lists for catalogs and the like. The catch here – it costs a $1 to opt out by mail.

The Postal Service is in desperate need of business as it faces closures. Will this be the lifeline that saves it or have too many people already dismissed excess mail as junk?

Related links you may like:
Steps you can take to protect your good name
10 consumer reports you should check