Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The importance of shopping local

Business decisions are never an easy task for anyone involved. 

I’ve had my fair share of decisions impacting the businesses I operate and I’ll be the first to admit they agonize me the most. 

One thing I learned long ago was that you’re never going to make everyone happy and you’re almost always guaranteed of making someone irate. 

Similar feelings have likely been coming from management at Erdman’s grocery store in Kasson over the past week as a major restructuring took place with a few key managers let go. 

Since the announcement, rumors have been circulating about the store’s demise, among many other things. 

But most of it is just rumors at best.

“We’re not going to close,” said Jon Christensen, general manager and one of the owners of Erdman’s. “Erdman’s has been around for 100 years and we plan to be around for another 100 years.”

Downsizing and reorganizing happen in Corporate America every day. But, luckily, in small town America it’s less of an occurrence. 

However, at times businesses need to make tough decisions that affect the lives of people.  

Running a small business is difficult at best, especially in these economic times. The hurdle facing Kasson area businesses is having Rochester right next door, only minutes away. 

Many people think nothing of driving to Rochester or other cities to do their shopping. What they often fail to realize is that such a move kills small town businesses. 

In order for small town businesses to stay relevant in these challenging times, changes and streamlining are often needed. 

There are success stories all over the place regarding small businesses. The American Legion Club in Kasson seemed destined for the morgue a few years back, but it has been bouncing back and just recently completed a major remodeling. 

The Erdman’s restructuring should force us all to take a hard look at the importance of shopping local. 

Businesses in Kasson are great about supporting the community and schools as much as they can. Business owners certainly don’t mind making donations to help various community organizations, but they also would like to see the return by people coming into their stores to make purchases.

“We support the community, but they need to support us as well,” Christensen said. 

For years the giants like Wal-Mart, Costco and Sam’s Club have forced many small town businesses out of existence across the nation. Small towns have struggled in which many Main Streets shrivel up and become almost like ghost towns. 

I don’t want to see that happen in Kasson or any other community around Dodge County and elsewhere. Shopping local needs to become a part of our daily lives. 

If you ever have a suggestion about something you’d like to see in local stores, I venture to guess most small business owners would love to listen and may even possibly take action to accomplish whatever it may be. 

Listening to the wants and needs of customers is part of being a small business owner. Try it with Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club and I’ll bet you won’t get very far. 

It’s time we all go in hot pursuit of supporting small town businesses. After all, small businesses are the foundation of what has kept this country together for centuries. 

See full story in this week’s print edition or subscribe online. Please subscribe here or current subscribers can login here.

Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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