Friday, June 19, 2015

The Golden Apple closed on March 28th, 2015.  We had been a mostly thriving business for 36 years.  The easy answer is Amazon killed us.  That's a part of it, but there's much more that goes in to destroying independent businesses.

The most important thing to remember is that most small businesses are a dream made real.  They reflect the personality and aspirations of the owner.  They have all the personality facets that humans have.  A good small business owner works hard to keep the good parts of their personality facing the public and the bad parts hidden.  They need people to like them.  Shoppers have become so used to corporate and franchise operations that they don't understand that when they enter an independent store, they are coming face to face with a human.  A small business has feelings and a pulse.

Dealing with other humans is messy.  It often involves empathy, and empathy isn't something everyone has.  There almost seems to be less of it in the world every day.  To buy from a small business; to maybe spend more than you might have; to interact with a human to complete the purchase; all require a calculation and an expenditure of empathy.  A purchase at a small business means another human (or several humans) will have money to pay for the things they need.  They help us, we help them.

The internet lets us avoid that interaction.  There isn't anyone at the other end of that fiber optic cable.  There is just the thing we want.

I loved interacting with my customers.  The world needs that interaction.  We'll need to find a new way to make it happen.  But small businesses can't wait.  They are human and have a pulse, and they are dying.