Arrggghhh! The stores in my town close too early!

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By Becky McCray and Deb Brown.

I got a great email from Dane in response to my last newsletter.  He said: 
Thanks for suggesting that businesses stay open an extra hour.
You might also tell them to not be closed two or even three days a week.  A lot of businesses in my town are closed all day Saturday and Sunday, while almost all the restaurants except Chinese and fast food are closed all day Sunday and all day Monday. 
The nonprofit coffee house is open only Wednesday to Saturday!
Then they all moan about not having enough business. Maybe if they thought about being open when it’s convenient for customers and not just when it’s convenient for them.  Even some dentists and doctors are now open in the evenings! 

My response ended up being long and I want to share it with you! 
Hi Dane,
I hear you! No evening hours is the first complaint I hear a lot. I have seen stores holding hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday – which works for them because they have other jobs and works for the community too. I’m sad for you the coffee shop is only two days week. Have you asked them why? 

The closed Saturday for the whole day? That does suck. Sunday is a hold over from the days when people didn’t shop on Sunday, the Lord’s Day. But as you know, times have changed!  Have you asked them why? 

The best way to start talking to people and sharing your frustration is to ask them why they do what they do! Nothing better than a face to face conversation. I know you’ll hear: 

  • but we want to be with our families
  • I don’t have enough staff
  • no one wants to work at night 
  • we tried that before, it didn’t work

Here’s a few ways to handle those objections: 

No one wants to work at night and I don’t have enough staff

You’d be amazed at the number of people that might be interested in working at night. Women who are home during the day with the kids, high school and college students, people who just want to work a couple of hours a day. So extending hours for just a couple of hours is not a big deal. Worried about theft? You can get a bond for $50 that covers that. And there’s cameras. 

But we want to be with our families! 

We all want to be with our families, don’t we? Having a business that is open when your customers can shop allows you to save money and keep your family fed. It’s the nature of business. You make a commitment to yourself and your community when you open a business to serve them the best you can. Otherwise, you’re just a hobby business. They don’t last long. 

We tried that before, it didn’t work

Of course you tried that before. For a week, or even a month. That’s not long enough! Right now your previous customers are used to you being closed and they are shopping elsewhere. Now you’ve got to earn them back. That takes time, and marketing. 

For you, asking them why they do what they do face to face is what I encourage. Be kind, be genuine and start to really get to know your store owners.

For the businesses, looking hard at why they do what they do is vital. Lost customers take a lot of work to earn back. If you keep losing them, you’ll lose your business.  

BRAVO to the doctors and dentists! Spread that kind of good news all over the social media platforms, and around town. 

Happy Holidays,

Becky McCray and Deb Brown

Hi, I’m Becky McCray. And I’m Deb Brown.

We believe small towns can be saved — including yours.

Small towns can best be saved by their own people using their own resources.

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