We’ve talked to a lot of businesses over the past few months as we’ve been building and launching Lantern. What we’ve noticed is an undeniable passion from small business owners about their customers, their products and services and their community.
It’s an old, but accurate adage that when you buy from a small business, you’re not helping a rich executive thousands of miles away purchase another yacht. You’re helping a dad pay for his daughter’s dance lessons or a mom pay for her son’s soccer shoes. It’s about making that human connection, not about the things, but about supporting real people in your community.
That’s why we’re creating Lantern. To give those small business owners a way to attract and connect with their customers. The big national brands have extensive marketing budgets, teams of people and tens of thousands of man-hours each month devoted to bringing in customers to what often amounts to an underwhelming customer experience. Take McDonald’s for example. Their stores are on every major corner in America and around the world. But their food is mediocre at best. So it takes a lot of money to keep reminding people to come back. There’s no way a mom and pop restaurant can touch that amount of firepower. But they can do something about it.
See by delivering authentic experiences or amazing food or just by genuinely caring about their customers and by pairing that with cost-effective strategies to get customers in the door, local businesses can thrive. We recently had an experience that solidified our position on that thanks to Blanc Burger. See we’ve been trying to reach them off and on for a couple months now. Their owner knows it. The other day, our CEO was down on the Plaza talking to some of our other clients and stopped by Blanc for lunch. Everyone was really attentive, the food was great as always – but the thing that really made the whole experience meaningful was what happened after the visit.
Our CEO sent a message to the owner of Blanc, and mentioned he had a great meal. First of all, you can’t email the owner of McDonald’s. The company is owned by millions of shareholders around the globe. Second, say you could even get an email to the CEO, guaranteed you would not get a response. The Blanc owner responded and said he was glad our CEO had a great experience and thanked him for his business. It would have been easy to just write it off and not respond, to assume that Lantern was just trying to sell him something. But no, he took the time to respond, to say thank you, and that makes all the difference.
It’s the little things that matter. It’s Remedy using fresh, locally-raised chicken from 30 miles away instead of doing what’s easier and buying frozen chicken from a big national vendor. It’s Bird Sings paying local artists for their photos to use in greeting cards they print in-house. It’s Snow & Company saying we’re not just going to make amazing frozen cocktails with all fresh ingredients, we’re going to make all of Crossroads a destination for creative entrepreneurs, artists and people who generally love an authentic experience.
That’s why we love local businesses. Shop local.