Let’s start by saying that I’m no saint. I do shop at the major pet retailers. I have been known to darken the doors of the mega-retailer of all-things-that-can-be-sold. And yes, I do buy online.
But my heart, and a significant portion of my budget for animal care products, is with local small business owners such as the local pet boutique in Dothan, Alabama, called For Pets Sake.
Why should you buy from a local boutique pet store?
You support a local small business owner– You don’t have to be an economist to know that when you buy from a big box retailer, a significant portion of the profits leave your community. When you buy from local business owners, you know the profits will be spent in your community by the people who work there.
You have a resource for information about the products they carry– Oh, I know, you do all your own research. But if you don’t have the time, or, like me, you don’t understand all the ins and outs of pet nutrition, your local small business owner can help. That’s their livelihood, so a good business owner will be in the know. When DeDe’s brand of food was recalled, I was able to talk to the owner about what her health issues are, and the owner recommended a comparable food to meet her needs.
Many local stores carry specialty foods that aren’t carried by other retailers. As I’ve said before, DeDe has special dietary needs because of food allergies. Developing a relationship with a local store owner helps me in that I know where I can always buy her food. And because most small business owners keep up with recalls, I can trust that if there’s a problem with any of the foods I buy, I’ll be made aware of it.
If you need a product they don’t carry, small businesses may be able to get it for you. I supplement the dogs’ diet with The Honest Kitchen. My local store carries this product, but didn’t have the Zeal, which is the one DeDe likes and can eat. All I had to do was ask, and an order was made. Yes, I could have ordered it online, but this is more than just buying. This is about forming relationships with business owners that are beneficial to both.
Many small boutique stores don’t sell animals. The big box retailers may not sell dogs or cats, but they DO sell animals. If we want to have stores that don’t sell animals, we need to support the stores that don’t sell animals. Find that local retailer that doesn’t, and give them your business. Put your money where your heart is, and don’t shop where animals are sold.
Some of you are thinking that you can’t shop at a small store like this because you can’t afford it. It’s a misnomer that small businesses charge more. To be sure, any business won’t stay in business for long if they don’t make a profit. But when I walk into my local pet store, I see foods, supplements, and toys that the big box retailers simply don’t carry. You get what you pay for. And for all the services small boutiques offer, they provide their customers a real bargain.
So, do you have a local small business owner you support? Tell us about it in the comments below.