Blog - Fall 2016

Top 8 Myths about Shopping Small

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It's hard to believe, but November is upon us, and with it, the holiday shopping season. Some of you are already groaning at the thought, while others can barely contain their excitement. Whether you're ready to shop 'til you drop or you would rather walk across a field of Legos than leave the house on Black Friday, there's one thing you need to keep in mind: It's in your best interests to shop at small, local businesses like Englin's Fine Footwear. If you think otherwise, read on to find out how we've busted the worst myths about shopping small.

1. Small businesses charge more for their goods and services.

If you've shopped with Englin's before, you know this one is patently false. We offer all our shoes and accessories at the lowest possible prices, and we offer sales, promotions, and special deals just like big-box retailers do. In our online store, we even price match identical, non-clearance items. Check out our price matching policy for more information. Plus, we offer free shipping and free returns for up to one year.

Some small businesses may offer more expensive goods and services simply because their products are worth more than what you would find at a chain store. When you shop small, you're often paying for someone's creative energy and talent, handmade or rare materials and ingredients, and products that no factory assembly line could ever replicate. We think that's worth an extra buck or two. Plus, you're also paying for the seller's product knowledge and experience-- something that's hard to come by at Walmart.

2. Small businesses have less inventory and fewer products to choose from.

Again, Englin's customers know that this is simply not true. We have a huge selection in stores and online, and if we don't have a particular shoe in stock, we'll do everything in our power to order it from the manufacturer for you. Unlike chain stores, our brick and mortar shops feature inventory that is carefully curated to satisfy our local customers. We also have a lot more to choose from than your average department store because we're a specialty shop: We believe that a lot of one thing makes for a better shopping experience than just a little bit of everything, so we have a wider shoe selection than, say, Kohl's or Target. That's why you're more likely to find what you're looking for at a small business than at a chain store—we know our customers, and we're focused on shoes, shoes, shoes! 

If your favorite locally-owned diner has a smaller menu than the McDonald's down the street, or that little artisan boutique doesn't have the earrings you want in every color, keep in mind that the charm and value of these businesses' products is their uniqueness. Maybe you don't have 150 entrees to choose from, but where else are you going to get that divine sandwich the diner's owner created himself? Maybe you can't find those earrings in the exact color you wanted, but imagine the exclamations of, "Where did you get that?!" when you wear your gorgeous, handcrafted jewelry to a party. That's the beauty of shopping small!

3. Small businesses' goods and services are of inferior quality.

You'll find the same popular brands and trendy styles at Englin's Fine Footwear that you'll find at big box retailers. In fact, we provide higher quality shoes than your average chain store, offering you the latest from trusted names in the industry. If you're buying online, you should know that every pair of shoes we ship out is carefully inspected to make sure that it is free of blemishes or manufacturing errors. We take pride in our shoes, and we stand by their quality.

Many owners of small businesses are highly skilled in their trade, with years or even generations of experience. People don't open small businesses with making money as their only goal; they do it because they have a passion for serving their communities in their own ways. When you shop small, you're purchasing from someone who cares about the product or service they are offering, someone who lives and breathes vinyl records or burgers or landscaping or shoes.

4. Chain stores offer the same overall experience as small businesses.

At Englin's, we're all about customer service. We're not satisfied unless you leave our store feeling like a part of the family. When was the last time you walked out of a big-box retailer believing that the employees were genuinely concerned about your needs or that the owner appreciated your business? That's the kind of experience we strive to provide at Englin's, both in stores and online.

Small businesses give outstanding customer service in ways you may not have considered. Small business employees are more likely to go above and beyond to help you get the product or service you need, even if it's a little outside the box. Not only do small businesses survive by word of mouth, we're heavily invested in our communities, so you can be certain that we'll do our best for every customer, every time. We hope our friends and neighbors enjoy every experience with us!

5. I prefer to shop online, and I can't do that with small businesses.

This one's a no-brainer. If you're reading this right now, you're on the Englin's website. Welcome! We understand that some folks would rather stay in bed on Black Friday and do their holiday shopping in their pajamas from the comfort of their homes on Cyber Monday. Who doesn't love the convenience of finding a great deal and placing an order without even getting out of bed? Luckily, you'll find a vast variety of great shoes on our website, so shopping local is just as easy as buying from Amazon or Zappos. Plus, with Englin's, your sensitive personal information is always encrypted to make your online purchase a safe and secure transaction. You can contact us via our toll-free customer service number, live chat, email, or social media and expect a speedy response to any questions or concerns. And don't forget that not only is shipping free, but you can return unworn shoes for up to a year—also for free!

Many small businesses offer online shopping, and even those that don't can often be contacted online and may be able to arrange shipment of their products for your convenience. Even though we love to see your face in our stores, don't assume you have to hit the pavement in order to support your local economy.

6. My purchase doesn't really make a difference.

Every purchase makes a difference. When you buy from a family-owned business like Englin's, your money isn't landing in the bank account of some corporate suit who has never even heard of your town. You're supporting families who live, work, play, eat, learn, and give back in your own community. Even if you only buy one pair of shoes a year, buy local! Don't leave it to others to support the small businesses that bring vibrant life into your community. Where you spend your money is a reflection of your beliefs and ideals. If you think entrepreneurship, creativity, work ethic, cooperation, and community spirit are important, it's time to shop small.

The Huffington Post reports that if every U.S. family spent just $10 a month at a small, local business instead of a national chain, more than $9.3 billion dollars would be directly returned to our economy. Your purchase matters!

7. Small businesses aren't that important to my community.

If you don't think small businesses really have an impact on your community, it's because you can't see the forest for the trees. Hint: We're the forest AND we're the trees. Local businesses are the lifeblood of the towns and neighborhoods in which we operate, and we have a vested interest in making sure the community continues to thrive. It's not just our opinion: Studies show that small businesses like Englin's have less environmental impact, employ more people nationwide, support non-profit organizations 250% more, and generate 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big-box retailers. Plus, unique, independent shops and restaurants generate tourism as people come from all over for an experience they can get nowhere else.

Supporting local businesses is a simple and effective way to give back to your community. Take pride in your town by patronizing the shops owned and operated by your fellow citizens.

8. I don't personally get anything out of shopping at small businesses (except a warm, fuzzy feeling).

If receiving stellar customer service, discovering unique and high-quality products, strengthening the local economy, creating jobs, protecting the environment, keeping tax dollars local, and generally making the world a better place isn't enough, here's one last reason to shop small: It's good for you. Shopping locally offers personal benefits that big-box stores simply can't match. When you shop local, you get the thrill of discovering new, interesting places, things, and people. You have the opportunity to get to know the folks who live in your town and make connections with those who share your interests. Shopping small is simply better for you in every possible way.

During the hectic holiday shopping season, you can reduce the possibility of getting trampled at Toys 'R Us or mugged for the last TV at Best Buy by opting to buy local instead. Avoid the crowds by skipping the big-box stores entirely. Small Business Saturday is the place to be! A growing phenomenon in recent years, Small Business Saturday encourages you to shop locally-owned stores the day after Black Friday. You get just as many great deals without all the stress!

By now it should be obvious: Shopping small is better for you and your community. We hope you'll join us for your gift buying this holiday season (and we won't tell if you buy yourself a little something, too). Check out our Holiday Gift Guide for Him and Holiday Gift Guide for Her to find the perfect shoes for everyone on your list!

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