Advice To Mom and Pop Shops

Happy #nationalmomandpopshopday!

A lot has changed for the Mom and Pop shops of America. No longer is the next Mom and Pop shop down the street your big competition. You’re not just competing against the Target and Walmart down the street these days either. Today you’re all competing against the one-click awesomeness that is Amazon.

No driving to the store and sitting in traffic. No searching through aisles of junk for what I really need. No longer finding what I need but it is the wrong size or color. No longer finding an empty spot where what I need is supposed to be. I can just open the app, find exactly what I need in 30 seconds, click one button and it arrive at my door in two days. Man, that experience just can’t be beat.

Yet, it can be beaten. I wrote about Toys R Us two weeks ago. You should click here and read that article.

I’m following up on that article because my brewery, Frothy Beard Brewing Company, just had two of it’s largest days in months. The first was on St Patrick’s Day when we threw a huge party. Drink specials, food specials and lots of St Patty’s Day themed activities. The following Saturday was our 5th Anniversary. All kinds of craziness ensued including an archery battle in the parking lot. No, we weren’t putting each other in the hospital. The arrows were foam tipped.

You can get beer anywhere. Hell, you can get great beer anywhere these days. But we don’t just give people great beer (and the best pizza in Charleston, SC). We give them something to do. We give them a place to hang out. We give them an experience.

Starbucks doesn’t just sell coffee. They are a place to work, to meet or to just chill for a little bit. Build-A-Bear doesn’t just sell teddy bears. They let you build your own custom teddy bear.

Hardware shops like Home Depot are now hosting DIY courses.

Do you sell t-shirts? Have t-shirt design contests and sell the winner in your store each week.

Do you sell books? We’d take our kids to book readings or costume contests where kids dress up as characters from the book of the week.

Do you sell tires? Teach classes that teach people how to change tires. Hell, I’ll go to that one.

Mom and Pop shops can’t just sell stuff. They have to find that Starbucks and Build-A-Bear equivalent. Every Mom and Pop shop has to do exactly what we’re doing at Frothy Beard Brewing. Give consumers an experience they can’t get anywhere else. That’s how you will survive, Mom and Pop.

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