Last Friday, I was looking for a specific piece of furniture for my office. I started local, albeit it after 5 p.m. I knew the “non-chain” store was closed, so I went to the chain store. After perusing what they had, I decided to around some more.
Saturday took me to Shreveport, but I still wasn’t sure, so I decided to come back to town and try the local guys. Much to my chagrin, they were closed — again. It was only 3 p.m.
As a result, I decided to take a look at nearby establishments, gauging their Saturday hours. Three car dealers, an outdoors store, and a host of downtown businesses were all closed.
By contrast, the retailers I visited in Shreveport, just a couple of hours prior, all had full parking lots and bustling interiors.
I certainly do not want to oversimplify my observations, or their conclusions. I know that simply being open does not necessarily mean more business. And, in smaller communities, there is an allure to going to the “big city” for shopping.
However. I cannot help but wonder how many dollars we are all missing at various times because we aren’t “available.” This issue is not new. I can remember a stipulation in a certain shopping center’s lease that defined the hours and days all establishments would be open, and even required a “fee” for advertising the center.
We need to be open when our customers want to shop, not when it is merely convenient for us. We also need to remind our customers, through advertising, that we are here and ready to serve them at these “expected” times.
When the “big city” becomes more convenient, the big city gets our dollars.