Letter to the Editor

Support local stores

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dear Editor,

It still happens far too often. Some would be customers go into a McCook or Red Willow County store, ask the sales staff for advice, actually handles the merchandise and then says the words that drive a stake into the employees' heart, "I might be back, but want to see how much less I can get this on QVC, the Internet or through a catalogue."

The benefits of buying locally have been well documented. By now, everyone should know at least one simple fact of economics: Local dollars spent in locally owned stores stays in the community.

Local businesses employ local people -- you, your friends, neighbors and relation. They pay local taxes that support parks, roads, libraries, senior centers and schools. They give to the local United Way and contribute when local citizens' homes burn, family is hospitalized and other crises hit.

We generally do not see stores from North Platte, Kearney, Denver, Lincoln, Omaha and other communities making donations to the McCook Community College, the hospital, Hillcrest or the Humane Society.

Internet sites and catalogue companies generally don't give to the food pantry, senior celebration, TeamMates or the McCook Toy Box.

Our Christmas gift to the local merchants that support our causes all year long could be to shop at home, even if it mans spending a few extra bucks rather than taking your purchases out of the area.


Dennis Berry,

McCook, Nebraska

View 23 comments
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  • It is not consumers job to worry about spending money so small businesses have money to donate. It is the owners job to ensure that the business is viable enough for consumers to spend money there. What they do with the money after that is their decision.

    -- Posted by bberry on Tue, Nov 29, 2011, at 5:06 PM
  • bberry if you do not wish to help those that help you, the local economy and your relatives, friends and neighbors, fine. I still wish you and yours good fortune in the new year and to experience the true meaning of Christmas.

    -- Posted by dennis on Tue, Nov 29, 2011, at 7:11 PM
  • It is a poor assumption to think what few businesses that do donate have any direct benefit for me.

    And while I do shop at some of these businesses, the true meaning of Christmas does not relate to how much money you spend nor where you spend it.

    So I guess in turn I wish for you to experience the same as we seem to view things differently.

    Take care.

    -- Posted by bberry on Tue, Nov 29, 2011, at 8:27 PM
  • If local business want the business they have to compete. If not on price then on service.

    You can say shop local all day long but its the business that has to win the customers.

    If people are willing to drive 60+ miles to shop elsewhere than McCook when gas prices are over 3.00 a gallon. Then there is something wrong with the stores in McCook not the shopper.

    Its called the World Wide Web for a reason. It doesn't stop at city limits, nor is it hard to get an online store front up and running online. Maybe its time for stores in McCook to utilize the tool and expand beyond McCook's city limits.

    -- Posted by npwinder on Tue, Nov 29, 2011, at 11:20 PM
  • As an example recently: I attempted to purchase an item at a local store. An everyday household item. They asked $129.99 for this item. The SAME item online, shipped in 2 days to my door was $80.00. You do the math. Moreover, they would not price match. I think we all shop local when we can, but guilting people into it does no good. I will NOT pay $50 extra for something like that item, just because the commercial has a catchy jingle.

    -- Posted by speak-e-z on Wed, Nov 30, 2011, at 8:14 AM
  • It is to bad people don't get it; such as the comments of those who find reasons to not support local businesses such as bbery and speak-e-z did in their comments. Before I move on you must know that I spend 20 years in the dhamber of dommerce business, so I'm pro-business!! Yes, I understand we have businesses that don't do as good as they should in winning over the customers. In fact, once I experience poor service, I do feel it's my responsibilty to let them know rather than walk away and never come back. See, it is important they know it so they can make a change in how they do business or there will be a day when they will close the doors and then everybody will wonder why they couldn't make any money. But at the same time, we need to let those know who are doing a good job taking care of me. It is a shame when the "locals" who don't bother to shop at home and then head to the big cities thinking they are going to come home having spent less money. And, it's not just about how much you spent on gas, but what about your time; how much do you value the 2hours it takes to drive to NP or K? For me, wasting four hours of windshield time is not something I want to do. Then consider the amount of money that will be spent on those "other" items, such as refreshments, entertainment, wear and tear on the vehicleetc. Then to cap it off, how do you account for service costs and mailing when you need to send or take an item for exchange, repair that was purchased over the Internet, catalog or out-of-town. There is so much more that I could say to debate those not supporting their community by supporting the local businesses, not just at Christmas time, but throughout the year.

    I've seen too many communities that have "closed" their doors as a viable community because they don't have a strong business sector. They can't recruit business or industry because they don't have jobs available. All along you see some business move out of town because the locals don't even support them. What happen to community loyality? Since, I've been through this debate before, I can't stay quiet when "nay-sayers" about not supporting local businesses, especially since McCook is my hometown. I have family members that still live there, work and have a business. I want my brother's business to continue to succeed and my other family members to have employment. But if too many locals don't embrace the fact the business owners are trying to survive in a tough situation. One final comment about about the remarks by speak-e-z, I'm only "assuming" you purchased your item from a large corporation that purchasees by volume so they can undercut the local business. The local business don't they same advantage because they don't have the same volume. They can't afford match the box stores or large corporations. So much for that! Thank you McCook for allowing me to chime in on this topic! Support your local businesses becuase there are a lot communities out there who are and will survive because of they have people who care!

    -- Posted by sdhusker on Wed, Nov 30, 2011, at 6:34 PM
  • Mr. Mayor and sdhusker, I try to buy local as often as possible. It surely does not make sense to drive to North Platte or Kearney just to pickup an item or two, that perhaps are only a few dollars more in McCook. But speak-e-z does have a valid point. There are many families that must watch every penny they spend, and if that means saving $50 on an item, on line, I can not fault them from saving the money. Perhaps that 50 bucks they saved on that item will mean $50 more they might spend in McCook! Sure the 129 would be better than 50 for the local economy, but 50 is better than none!

    I just made a trip east to pickup items that are not even available in McCook, so yea I drove to Kearney. On the way, it was very interesting to see how just 11 miles east gas was cheaper than McCook. It's been that way for months. Kearney's gas was going for $3.19.9 for super. McCook I believe is $3.36.9, 17 cents a gallon cheaper in Kearney! (13 cents cheaper in North Platte according to gas buddy)

    Now I realize that there are only 3 "local" stations left in town and the others are out of towners. But believe me I will always wait and fill up somewhere east of McCook as long as the members of the McCook Oil "K"artel continue to screw the consumers in McCook. Of course the "K"artel comes back with the old crap story of additional transportation costs for McCook. Please "K"artel explain why gas is cheaper east of McCook when the same tankers that bring the gas from south of North Platte to McCook, drive right through McCook to deliver that gas 11 miles or more down the road?

    I will continue to support local as much as possible, and for the most part local merchants are in line on many items. I recently compared prices on some items on line with a store down town, they were really right in the ball park and the only difference being sales tax, I chose to buy local,pay the sales tax, but community loyalty will only go so far. When a person tries to "play ball" with the local merchants but feels the bat being shoved at the same time, they are going to drive east or north, especially when they can just wait and fill up down the road.

    -- Posted by goarmy67 on Wed, Nov 30, 2011, at 7:57 PM
  • I'll give a business another chance when I receive bad service. If it happens again the 2nd time forget about it.

    If I can get an item 50 dollars cheaper elsewhere you bet I will.

    Businesses want customers to support them yet, they don't want to support their customers and I'm not talking about donations. Most would be willing to pay a little more to get it locally.

    However, dennis and sdhusker, all you guys are doing is making people mad and turning them off from shopping local. You cannot attempt guilt the shoppers.

    -- Posted by npwinder on Wed, Nov 30, 2011, at 8:38 PM
  • "It is to bad people don't get it; such as the comments of those who find reasons to not support local businesses such as bbery and speak-e-z did in their comments."

    I think you have it wrong. People understand how it works just fine, and they aren't looking for excuses not to shop at local businesses. Especially since I previously stated that I did shop at some of them. Sometimes you simply can't justify spending that much more on things.

    Anyone who would intentionally spend $50 more than they had to is an idiot.

    For example, if were to open a store that sold item with no lower than a 25% markup than that of any other store, using your argument you would pay these prices no matter what? And if it went under, it would be the consumers fault? No.

    And yes I would spend 2 hours to save me $50.

    People not paying an extra $50 markup doesn't mean they do not care.

    It floors me you would actually try to guilt consumers. I guess thats what you learn in the 20 years of the "dhamber of dommerce business".

    Then again, I'm sure you never shopped outside of the area right?

    -- Posted by bberry on Wed, Nov 30, 2011, at 9:25 PM
  • It's not about making people feel guilty, its about taking the blinders off and look around your McCook. Businesses shut down because they can't survive when they don't receive the support necessary to make a profit. I heard for years when people would ask why a particular business closed. Have you ever thought about asking the local business to place an order through his/her connections for what you say isn't found in McCook. bberry, I don't intentionally go out of town to purchase items. Yes, I do take a vacation and spend money outside of my community, but I support my local merchants throughout the year!

    I know enough about my local merchants that if I am having trouble finding an item, they can either assist me and send me to the merchant who has it or they offer to order it for me. I even had the experience of a couple businesses who started carrying a line of clothing that wasn't found in town, but there was enough demand.

    And, the gas issue. There are many communities in the midwest that experience what you've describe; fuel is cheaper down the road. If you can solve the problem, you could market it. I can drive 25 miles to gas that is .20/gal. cheaper, but do I need to use $10 worth of gas to save $5. Not really. What is appears this debate could go on forever. Let's agree to disagree!

    -- Posted by sdhusker on Wed, Nov 30, 2011, at 10:45 PM
  • Shopping at home is not about "greedy high priced local business" or "selfish" consusmers. It is about economics. As local consumers do you want local businesses to continue to donate their profits to causes you or others in the community want/ need? Examples are Hillcrest, the hospital, the Y, the college, the toy box, Heritage Days, First Night, the food pantry, all the school kids looking for donations for their clubs/organizations/events and many more? Do you want the tax base expanded to help keep taxes low and to receive at least the same level of governmental services (and yes taxes in McCook and Red Willow are as low or lower than those across our state)? Do you want jobs for your kids, grandkids, friends, neighbors, relation? Somebody has to pay for those things. At least ask locals to match prices you believe are cheaper down the road. In good conscience I have trouble not supporting those that support things I value for our community. That does not mean I never spend dollars outside of our area but that I try to keep it local if I can. Just me but I also would have a hard time buying out of the area and then going locally to want to return or have my item serviced or repaired (even though service/repair locally helps). I believe that when you shop locally you are not only making the purchase of that item/service but are paying for the extras that the local businesses support.

    -- Posted by dennis on Thu, Dec 1, 2011, at 10:13 AM
  • Again there are no blinders, no excuses, and no other reason to assume people do not shop at a particular business other than price and demand.

    If a business can't provide an incentive for either, then it's going to go out of business.

    It really is that simple.

    -- Posted by bberry on Thu, Dec 1, 2011, at 10:26 AM
  • Dennis, we there's no really no reason to beat a dead horse. People understand your reasoning, employment, taxes, and charitable giving. Although isn't McCooks sales tax higher?

    People do shop at these businesses generally, or they would have gone out of business a long time ago.

    But sometimes it's just not worth buying some of their things.

    Have a good one.

    -- Posted by bberry on Thu, Dec 1, 2011, at 10:34 AM
  • I tried to keep it fairly suck-sinked sdhusker, but, in the spirit of transparency, I'll assist you in the unravelling of your undergarments. The store from which I attempted to purchase said item was not actually a local store, but a national chain, run at a local level, I believe. In a similar instance and with a not-so-similar item, I looked into installing underground sprinklers. I was given a quote with the cost of having the "professionals" install them and the quote to install them myself after the professionals gave me all of the necessary equipment. I then did some research on the internet (the connection to which is provided by a local company) and found that the mark-up of the professionals sprinklers and hoses were some 300%. I find that off-putting. Now, I recently promised to help you un-bunch your undergarments...here we go: instead of purchasing some technology for my family (a television and a tablet) over the last year on Amazon.com, newegg.com, tigerdirect.com or any other online retailer who usually provides free shipping to my door, I chose to purchase locally. Oh, and not to mention the vehicle I bought here.

    -- Posted by speak-e-z on Thu, Dec 1, 2011, at 2:33 PM
  • bberry, no the local sales tax is not higher than most of the other communities the size of McCook or larger....same is true with property tax. And lodging tax in McCook is WAY lower than places like Lincoln, Omaha ....Clearly there are reasons to shop and home and there are reasons not to do so. The choice is yours.

    -- Posted by dennis on Thu, Dec 1, 2011, at 3:08 PM
  • It seems that it is apples to oranges comparing McCook to Omaha.

    It is how you went about it orginally that struck me wrong. However, your last setence seems that we are beginning to see eye to eye.

    If you're looking for something, why not give local businesses a chance? They always appreciate your business.

    See what I did there? No need to mention much more than this.

    But I digress.

    Have a good evening.

    -- Posted by bberry on Thu, Dec 1, 2011, at 5:06 PM
  • Well sdhusker, you have a valid point about spending $10 to save $5 on gas, that would be pretty stupid, guess that is why I didn't think of that. But forgive me I am not going to agree to disagree. I do have a solution for myself with my "road" vehicle. I only fill up "east" or "north" of town when I am going that way anyway, and you can bet that I will top off before hitting the city limits of McCook. ( I seldom go south, but hear prices south are even cheaper, but then you get into the state tax issue)

    I would bet that I am not the only one that fills up "down east" on the way back to McCook, if not, well good for them, they have a lot more cash available to throw away than I do. Since you live out of town, I assume you do not listen to Open Line, almost everyday someone is calling in, complaining and asking why are gas prices in McCook are so far out of line with the prices just a few miles away.

    I again ask why the gas in McCook is higher than the gas out of that same tanker and is selling for 6 cents cheaper in Cambridge when that tanker drives an extra 50-60 miles round trip to deliver it? The McCook "K"artel has yet to answer that question.

    -- Posted by goarmy67 on Thu, Dec 1, 2011, at 5:32 PM
  • Wondering70 it is because a majority will pay for it. I often pay for it because McCook tends to actually be 10-15 cents cheaper then here in Trenton.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Fri, Dec 2, 2011, at 9:13 AM
  • That's why I seldom go west! LOL

    -- Posted by goarmy67 on Fri, Dec 2, 2011, at 12:00 PM
  • I have always heard that back in the day all the service station owners met for coffee in the monrings and decided what price gas would be for the day. Anyone know if that is true and if it is still done today? It does upset me that gas is cheaper not that far from here, and I tend to fuel up on the way out or back when I can.

    For the most part I try to shop local. I don't mind paying a little bit higher prices for some things. But if there is a big difference I will go elsewhere or go online.

    Service is what is worth my time and money. A certain store on the west edge of town has really gone downhill (in my opinion) since the change in management and the remodel. Not that I ever liked having to go there a lot in the first place, but I have been trying to reduce my spending there and go to other stores when I can.

    -- Posted by bntheredunthat on Fri, Dec 2, 2011, at 1:22 PM
  • I actually think that is one of those myths that every town with more then a couple gas stations has. When I lived in kearney I heard the same thing only it was the doughnut shop.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Fri, Dec 2, 2011, at 2:56 PM
  • Like most Americans, I wake up around 4 AM every workday morning, and head out around 5 AM. Everyday I put in a lot of mile just walking, at the end of the day my feet hurt. I have tried all the shoes the local market carries and none meet my stringent specifications. I've told if I could get a few more guys to order these shoes, they would get them for me, or settle for what's on the shelf. So I shop for shoes online.

    The same goes for my pants. In addition to mile of walking, I do a lot of lifting and maneuvering certain tools. I prefer wearing a light-weight yet durable pant. Again the local market says it cannot justify special ordering a few pairs of pant for just one customer. Just settle for what's of the shelf.

    Much of down town McCook is stuck in the 1970's. The labor force has changed dramatically. Both adult member's of the household now work. Most wives now work, they don't have the luxury of going downtown to shop for the husbands needs.

    Couple get off work late in the afternoon or early evenings, grab the kids and go shopping. Guess who's closed, downtown. Guess who open. Guess who gets the business.

    Yes, I was saddened when a lot of small businesses closed when a certain large retailer moved in. Then I found joy, I could buy the same crap quality at the new store for a lot less.

    Come on local business, change with the times, good or bad. A return for the old days will not happen anytime soon.

    -- Posted by Hugh Jassle on Sun, Dec 4, 2011, at 11:33 AM
  • So if I am reading this right, like that for which Capitalism allows, those that cater to the customer, by providing products that consumers need/want, keep their doors open when people can shop, and who will strive for business by ordering product or matching price on a SAME product, will remain in business. Those that are closed at 5:00pm, Saturdays at 12:00pm, and all day Sunday, are likely not going to remain open. I am sure there is a lot more that goes into this as there is overhead for keeping doors open late, weekend shifts, and price-matching, but why are we pushing for "spreading the wealth" here? I am not going to use the word I am thinking because that is a blanket term and not fair, but we have a right to shop where we need to to make our weak dollar stretch as far as we can. I say its up to the business owner to meet the consumer's needs more than it is the consumer to keep the business owner afloat.

    -- Posted by speak-e-z on Mon, Dec 5, 2011, at 7:56 AM
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