being a part of an American tradition
"Happy Days"? It involved a family of four. As part of
the story line, the father owned a business. The son, played by
Ron Howard, worked part time in the store. The show presented an
enjoyable view of an American lifestyle that the show's writers
probably thought was only a memory of days gone by.
suggest that this lifestyle continues to flourish today. One of
several places we can find this is with the people who manage, work
in, and own small businesses. An experience many retailers have
been fortunate to have is to hear customers remark how much they
enjoy browsing through your businesses, and how much they think
they would enjoy working in, or perhaps owning, a business similar
I shop, my wife requires that I give her my money and credit cards
as I go into a store. Put me in a store where the sales help is
friendly and outgoing, and I can help them reach their sales goal
in a flash. Why does this relationship develop between a business
and a customer?
will happen in the business in which the owner recognizes what he
is truly selling. For example, it is not clothing and related items.
What the best businesses are selling to their customers are "feelings"
in the form of self-esteem, satisfaction, and pride.
was comments made by a friend that started this story over a year
ago. He made a career move, leaving after 15 years what had grown
to become a cold and impersonal bank for a position with a children's
hospital. He took a pay cut of 40% in making the move, but during
the decision-making process gave serious consideration to purchasing
a retail business.
our example, he was a frequent shopper and browser of businesses
where he could meet and visit with the owner or manager. He liked
what he saw in these stores and the enjoyment that these people
have in their work. He saw a kind of special appeal in owning a
business. I believe small businesses that sell these unique "feelings"
are fortunate enough to enjoy a slice of the proverbial "American
pie", or perhaps as my friend says, "being able to smell
with many things in life, when you stop to smell the roses, you
can find more roses to smell. Throughout the year, you have the
opportunity to experience a number of events that prove this theory
to be true. One event you can all experience is a trade show or
educational seminar. No matter what size your business, the opportunity
to share a meal or an afternoon break with a fellow retailer shows
a kinsmanship like no other business. Small-business people share
their plans, experiences, and problems.
type of experience isn't common to other professions. Ask someone
you know in another profession, what happens when they get together,
and what assistance they give each other. Why this fascination with
are so many stories that are told about stores and the people who
own them. You can hear Kenny Rogers mention the corner drug store
that he worked in. You can also hear the fondness for the neighborhood
store as a part of the song "Twenty Years Ago" sung by
Alabama, or "God Bless the Little Man" by Alan Jackson.
The long-running show "Cheers" talked about the place
that Sam Malone owned and how it was "where everybody knows
your name." Small businesses seem to be able to get more than
their share of human-interest stories, as shown by these examples.
of NASCAR's most popular drivers, Bill Elliott, is the son of a
small-business owner. The story is told that his Dad and family
are very loyal to the brand of cars Bill used to race - so loyal
that they would gladly tote the merchandise to your car, but only
if it is the same brand of car that Bill drove.
a nationally syndicated humorous newspaper columnist was commenting
about the problems with movies today. He thought that viewers had
a hard time relating to heroes who were spies, renegade police officers,
or unique professionals. The writer stated that movies would be
more realistic if we got these stars "back into running the
may hear or read the story of a small business that was there to
help. Often it occurs as the Make a Wish Foundation helps a terminally
ill child or youth to fulfill a dream. I have seen the pictures
and heard the stories of that child being beautifully outfitted
by a local business so as to make the dream as enjoyable as possible.
many times have YOU heard someone come into your business and comment
how much he or she enjoys looking around? And, have you noticed
that when you add a new employee, how quickly he becomes a part
of the community? We hope you enjoyed our reminiscing. Aren't you
glad you're a small business? You are a rare and proud part of Americana,
of which more people want to become a part. We hope you enjoy your
piece of the pie.