Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Locally-owned Pet Supply Store vs Petco, Part II

Indie vs. Petco, part III...I know! (But I'm making a point here, one that began in this post)

Although I've been a loyal customer for years, buying dog food and supplies at the locally-owned shop, I rarely need to buy crates or larger items. This time, with the unexpected arrival of the dog, I needed lots of stuff. With the other half wailing in the background about Amazon being cheaper (but not available immediately of course - and besides I'm one that needs to look and see rather then just click Buy Now), I headed to my locally-owned pet supply store. Petco, less than 2 miles away, probably offered multiple styles, sizes and price points for the kennel I was hoping to get, and I was a little worried I may not find the exact one I needed at the indie shop. But as I passed the Petco on my way, here's what was running through my mind....

When I'd had a tough work schedule a few years ago, one of the owners offered to deliver the dog food to my house knowing I couldn't get to the shop before they closed at 6pm - I managed to swing by on weekends instead but still, they had cared enough to offer. When my beloved senior little dog had major surgery and then needed a very specific and limited diet, I think we probably bought one of every type of canned food available while trying to find the best options for him. The owners graciously gave me numerous trial cans and products to try, special-ordered different things that we hoped would work - and they always remembered to ask how he had made out or what specific concerns I might have. And then there were all the times the entire family hosted charity events to benefit the local shelters, created a space for Santa Claus photos, participated in local parades and activities around the community - they aren't JUST running a business, they ARE a part of things, a component of the lives of others, someone who remembers to ask about my mother each time I visit.....I passed the Petco store and kept on going.

At the familiar independent store they didn't have a lot of large crates in stock. They did have some basic sizes and then there was ONE up on the back shelves that appeared just right. Perfect size, exact dimensions to fit in the space at home and also in the van for travel. $140 is a lot for a crate but it was cheaper than buying two regular ones. Dog food, shampoo, bones and other stuff added up to around $300 and soon I was out the door and on my way home. And yes, later that night I did look up the price of the crate at Petco....maybe I could have just let it go but I wanted to see: $129.00 for a similar crate. I get it, if everything you bought locally was $11 more each time, that could add up and if it was basic living supplies and groceries that could be $33 or $44 a month more. But it's likely not going to be that much difference on weekly purchases I don't believe, but then again you'd have to take into consideration how you would get dog food when there is 2' of unexpected snow on the ground and the local store owners are DELIVERING to their local customers who couldn't get out....food for thought, isn't it.

This was long and drawn out and it boiled down to a price difference of $11. I've spent far more time writing it than actually shopping! But it makes a point; there's a value that goes hand in hand with those people and places and relationships that are formed when you participate in your community, and THAT in itself is worth far more than $11 to me.

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