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Are big box stores a benefit?

Exactly when did the term, “big box store” enter our vocabulary? And are they a good thing?

As a child I remember many more small stores than big boxes. I don’t think many “big boxes” existed. Of course, Sears and Penney’s were around, but even their size is dwarfed by the largest stores of today. Some are even named after states and feel like an entire city inside. You’re not really sure that they specialize in anything because they try to have everything.

When I think about the small stores of my childhood, I often remember the people who ran and, most often, owned them. Mrs. Ruby owned the country store near my aunt’s house; she was my favorite. She was very kind and had known my family for years, and the jar of cookies on her counter was very appealing to a little boy.

Then there was Dr. Johnson who ran the tiny pharmacy closest to our home. He was always in the back behind the window and his wife was out front. There was never a time we needed something and went there that they were not there to help us. I hope they had a vacation at some point!

None of the people who ran these little establishments were rich by any means. They carved out a decent living by working hard, standing behind their products, and knowing their customers. Who knows you when you walk into a big box? They are often incorporated elsewhere with profits flowing to faceless shareholders.

As we approach the estimated spending of $125B across Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and, more particularly, Small Business Saturday, we hope that you will support the small stores of today. To owner-operators like us, it means everything.

Feel free to comment about the small business of today that stand out and the ones of the past that stick in your memory.

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