Buy Local; Get a Dose of Enthusiasm For Free

Scott's Toys & Hobbies
Scott’s Toys & Hobbies Station Street Duncan BC

Enthusiasm; that’s the word I’ve been looking for! When you go into a small local business and are greeted by an owner, you’re greeted with enthusiasm. When they talk about their service or product it’s with passion and with knowledge. They care and also know what they’re talking about.

It isn’t so much about making a sale, or getting you to buy local. It’s about sharing knowledge of a passion that they have built a business around. The sale is a natural result of that interaction.

The foundation of that business is something they are keen to talk about and love to teach others about. Chances are if you’re at that store in the first place, it’s a shared interest.

Small business owners are genuinely happy to see you, and after a return visit or two more than likely will greet you by name.

I’m not sure about you, but nothing makes me feel more welcome and appreciated than when I’m greeted by name and with an authentic smile. I’m a social person, and I like to chat. I absolutely enjoy when shopping includes a visit.

For example the other day, I dropped by Scott’s Toys and Hobbies to pick up some of my favorite oil pastels and was hoping to visit with the owner (Diane).

She is a wealth of knowledge, about her products and her town. It’s a chance to do some shopping, and to catch up on the latest happenings in Downtown Duncan. As luck would have it, she was in and so I enjoyed my shopping experience that bit more.

On the flip side…if you work in (or own) a small local business, please remember the person standing in front of you has chosen to visit your establishment. More than likely over a big box store with bigger selection possibly lower prices.

The reason they are in your store most likely is for the overall customer experience. Ensure you deliver, give them that extra dose of enthusiasm for free and they will be back to buy local again and again.


New Pastels from Scott's Toys & Hobbies I Buy Local
Love my new oil pastels

Scott’s Toys & Hobbies just one of my many favorite places to buy local www.scottstoysandhobbies.ca

Buy Local Twitter Ambassador

Over the last five years I’ve become more aware of why it’s important to “buy local”. I’ve been doing my best to be supportive of businesses owned and operated in the Cowichan Valley, especially in Downtown Duncan.

Besides the obvious…I started to buy local more often myself, I decided another way I could support Cowichan Valley businesses is by becoming somewhat of a buy local Twitter ambassador.

Now, I say “attempting” because it’s been way more difficult than I expected.

Buy Local Twitter Ambassador Spell Check
Apparently re-tweet is causing some verb confusion 🙂

What I expected was, to log in to my Twitter account (@ilovecowichanca) find all of my favorite Downtown Duncan businesses and follow them. Plan was to keep it honest. I would favorite and re-tweet interesting stuff. I would tweet about each and every excellent experience I have as a customer. I would tweet about my favorite purchases.

What I didn’t expect was….

  • to find as few twitter accounts as I did
  • the low number of acknowledgements I received after following
  • so little overall tweeting activity

I don’t think some small businesses realize how powerful a punch the right kind of tweet packs. Nor how many of their customers (plus, potential customers) are right there, ready willing and able to interact with them. They don’t yet see the value in having a Twitter account; the reach potential.

Buy Local Twitter Ambassador Thank you
Always say thanks to people who follow you on twitter

For those that do have a Twitter account, please understand that proper etiquette (manners) still apply in the virtual world. If someone calls or walks into your place of business you don’t just ignore them. You acknowledge their visit and you thank them.

The same goes for Twitter. If you have an account and someone follows you, acknowledge that they followed you by (at the very least) tweeting a thank you. There is a very good chance that the person who followed you is a customer.

You’ve taken the time to set up a Twitter account for your business, don’t have it just sit there dormant. Very little or no activity whatsoever is probably worse than not having an account. You don’t have to dedicate a whole bunch of time but pencil it in.

It’s only 140 characters for goodness sake!

Tweet something of interest (relevant to your niche) at least once per day. Not just a sales pitch in each tweet but something of value. Thank new followers every day.

If you’re stuck for something to say thank specific twitterers (wow that one is most definitely not ok with spell check ) for retweeting and/or favoriting your tweets.

A follower (someone who is interested in your business) is giving you permission to share information with them, don’t pass up the opportunity…and while you’re at it  do yourself a favor, consider following them back.

Support Your Neighbors Your Friends Your Community…Buy Local! (pretty please:)

 

Raw Carrots Lead to This…

Things have really changed since I wrote this paragraph back in 04’…

“As the song goes…try a little tenderness. Ok, so the song really isn’t about vegetables but it does apply. Maybe the song I’m actually looking for is respect. Way too often creativity and the flavour potential of vegetables is over looked. I mean who sits around talking about veggies or what can be done to make them appealing and delicious? Really, other than just boiling them (to a flavourless death) maybe adding some butter, salt and pepper what else can we do? And, potatoes? Well, that’s just something we eat out of habit.”

My point at the time was that in certain cuisines (French and Chinese for example) vegetables are respected. Care is taken to bring out their delicate taste with just a dash of butter or oil, using only the minimum amount of liquid or steam necessary. This is still true but…

That’s not what I want to talk about right now.  Fast forward to today and WOW things have changed. We really do sit around talking about veggies. Their many health benefits, the amazing variety and fun ways to eat them. Not only is exchanging vegetable recipes now common place, but caring about how and where they’re grown has become a priority for many of us.

Anyway, trying to figure out an interesting way to prepare carrots for Thanksgiving got me thinking about some recipes I had on my old computer. Searching for those recipes lead me to the article I’d written. Reading it made me realize how much times have changed and how much I have changed.

Besides growing almost a decade older (shudder), I have grown to understand the importance of buying local. Which brings me to my point (finally).

Buy Local Buy Fresh
Buy Local Buy Fresh

If you haven’t gotten around to taking the “buying local” plunge yet, why not start with veggies? While you’re at it, you might as well grab some fruit too.  It’s a win win. You support a local farmer and you get to enjoy FRESH produce. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to start scrolling for some carroty inspiration, which reminds me…..I hope to get around to sharing some of those vegetable recipes really soon.

Cowichan is My Home

First I Love Cowichan blog entry; short n’ sweet.

This is what you will find here:

Pictures, news, events, thoughts, fun stuff, people, art, places, stories….everything and anything Cowichan.

 


The Big Move to the Cowichan ValleyIt all starts with 5 adults, 6 kids, 1 dog and 1 hamster arriving on Vancouver Island with a final destination of Duncan BC in August 2004.

Duncan is the heart of the Cowichan Valley. It’s pretty much the mid point between Victoria and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island BC. We’re known as the city of totems. There is always something to do, and almost always an event or two happening around town.

One of my favorite places to visit it is the Cowichan Valley Museum You can literally feel the history when you walk in. The museum itself is like Duncan, not too big, not too small just right.