I like to shop locally; not only does shopping local provide local opportunities to all the locals, but I dream of a day when Main Street, once again, becomes that place where service is king, opportunity is abundant, and everybody knows your name.
Finding a new or unique product can be a corundum though. Take my search for a first time purchase of a package of fabric batting to make the center of a few potholders. My search lead me to a brand. I searched for that brand and the search resulted in 3 local stores within a few miles of my location as well as a couple of places to order online. Unfortunately when I got to store one they didn't have the product and seemingly had never heard of it. Not good. After I returned home, upon further investigation, the store in question had a larger, online presence where you could order online; apparently this corrupted my search for a local supply. I was disappointed in the retailer---they weren't that type of small main street business that I like to frequent anyway.
But this larger retail store is having problems and closing stores in this tough economy. A lesson it may be too late for them to learn is service is really the key to continuing business and customer loyalty---especially in today's changing retail world. They would have had a loyal customer as well as a sale if they would have had a knowledgeable staff empowered to get on their own website, order the product I needed and have it delivered to their store, saving me the shipping charge, as I would already be making two trips to their physical location.
Instead they received no sale, no customer, and I am left with the feeling that, although the store was an icon of previous generations---one that taught me what good service is, this is a retailer that has seen better days and may deserve it's ride into the sunset.