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‘Absolutely’ Shop Near Home to Support Local Businesses

Friday, November 29, 2019 @ 12:11 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

image (12)CLARION, Pa. – Ask Mike Hindman — one of the owners of DuBrook (M & B Services Concrete Construction in Clarion) and Redbank Chevrolet in New Bethlehem — if he supports people shopping close to home, and he has a simple answer.

“Absolutely,” Hindman said.

“We need to support those businesses so that they can stay here and remain viable. We can’t go buy something once a year at their stores and then order off the internet the rest of the time and expect that to be enough.

“Local business people around here will support the community anytime. Everybody steps up, but it’s very important to support them when you can.

“How many kids play on a baseball team sponsored by someone locally? It wouldn’t be possible without them.”

Even though his businesses are primarily concrete construction and selling cars and trucks, Hindman emphasizes the support needed by local merchants.

“After years of buying everything on the Internet and then a local business goes out and you hear everybody says it is terrible. The businesses are involved with the community, and if they’re not here, we lose. You don’t ever hear of Amazon sponsoring a little league team or minor league team.”

Black Friday is also followed by Small Business Saturday; that promotes shopping at small stores close to home. The shopping day connects with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which promotes big box retail and e-commerce stores. Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to purchase from small and local stores.

“Every dollar spent generates twice as much income for the local economy,” according to PA Great Outdoors. “When you buy from a small business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom put food on the table, a dad pay a mortgage, or a student pay for college.”

Tracy Becker, executive director of the Clarion Chamber of Business and Industry echoes those comments.

“If people drive down Main Street and don’t stop and support the businesses we have, one day they’re going to drive down Main Street and the businesses won’t be there,” Becker said. “These businesses rely on people not just during holiday times, but really all year-round. I know that people find themselves going to the large box stores or shopping online. People are utilizing online to buy things for convenience. They don’t want to leave their homes.”

Personalization is something local stores can offer customers.

“Sometimes it’s just that personalization when you walk into a store,” Becker continued. “You hear ‘What can I help you with’ or ‘How’s the family, what’s been going on’ and it just gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling. We know our star businesses have a lot to offer, they really do. Our motto on everything is to ‘shop early, shop often, and shop Clarion.’ Our stores downtown may not have what you need right now, but if you talk with them, they can get those items.”

The Chamber is bringing in Santa Claus for the annual parade on Friday, December 6.

“We’re bringing Santa into town and the Commissioners are going to light the Christmas tree in the park. We have a lot of great things that we want to showcase what we have here to bring people into town,” Becker said.

Santa will be making his way to the Clarion Mall on Saturday, along with Tractor Supply where photos can be taken with pets.

It’s a numbers game

Buying a new car or truck is primarily a numbers game all during the year and not just over the Christmas holidays, according to Hindman.

He admits that television commercials with family members all getting cars or trucks for Christmas don’t really happen all of the time.

“I think it’s more of the family discussing the possibility of purchasing a vehicle, and it just kind of coincides with the Christmas season.”

Hindman also offers his perspective on what is going on when people shop for cars or trucks.

“People don’t realize that when you purchase a vehicle from any dealership, most of us buy the car for relatively the same price from General Motors, so you’re working on the same margins. A lot of times trade-in values and that kind of stuff is what drives the prices.

“If someone goes to Pittsburgh, and the sale price of the vehicle might be slightly less than what it is locally, but they might give you slightly more on a trade. It looks like there’s a big difference between the two, but if you if come in and buy a $30,000.00 car and I give you $10,000.00 for your trade, the difference is $2,000.00. If you go somewhere else and they give you the same $30,000.00 car for $35,000.00 and then adjust your trade number accordingly. It’s the difference between the two and a lot of people might think they are getting more for their used car. It’s a numbers game.”

Hindman acknowledges that the online competition for selling vehicles is still in its early stages.

“You know some places that you can buy them online, but that’s the thing with the auto industry is if you buy them online, wherever you buy them, we’re still obligated from the franchise to service, and we do that, but the total service is a little bit different.

“If someone buys a vehicle from us but lives in the Clarion area, we will set up transportation to get the vehicle to New Bethlehem. They can pick up in Clarion when it’s done, and they don’t have to drive to Redbank. If you go online and buy a car you’re going to have to drive it down there. There is no extra incentive to try to go over and above the warranty.”

“It may be the way of the future, and if ends up that way, there’s just not going to be the money there to do those extra things and so you have to keep your prices in line with what the warranty provides.”

Shopping at home has its advantages.

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