As small business owners, independent outdoor power equipment dealers face the challenge of going up against large retail chains. Many consumers go straight for the best price and forget about the added value of purchasing from a local independently owned business and supporting the local economy.
STIHL is now sponsoring Independent We Stand, a movement to educate consumers on the benefits of supporting local businesses, and in turn their local community. Studies have shown that locally owned businesses reinvest locally at a rate 60% higher than large chains such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Independent We Stand and STIHL are working to spread the knowledge of the benefits of spending locally. A website (IndependentWeStand.org) provides useful tools for business owners and others who would like to get involved in the movement and help educate.
The Independent We Stand website offers information and printable tools to get the message out, as well as a large database of locally owned businesses. Dealers and independent business owners who register their business on IndependentWeStand.org will enjoy several benefits that get their company name out there while supporting the cause. Benefits include:
- A free listing for your business on the Independent We Stand online business locator
- Free marketing and promotional materials proclaiming your independent status
- Access to articles and statistics on the importance and impact of shopping locally
- The opportunity to network with others who have joined the movement
- An Independent We Stand button that drives more traffic to your company’s website
- Free Independent We Stand eNewsletter that can be forwarded to employees and contacts
- Help in sharing business information on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter
- Independent We Stand apparel available for purchase to spread awareness
- Independent We Stand public relations support and business coverage in local media
Be Local, Buy Local
Dealers can show they support Independent We Stand not only by registering their business with the site and spreading the word, but also by making an effort to support their local businesses. By choosing to buy locally, you are encouraging those local businesses to also support your business.
You should also encourage your employees to do the same. A small change in each of your weekly spending habits can make a large difference in your local economy and even create jobs. Visit your local farmers’ market, coffee shop, restaurant, bookstore and more to show your support.
STIHL has always maintained a belief in the strength of the local business. They have never sold their products through mass merchants, and are now stepping outside of the outdoor power equipment industry to help small business owners nationwide.
STIHL has seen the value of working with independent dealers, and dealers value their support as well. Jerry Clay of Clay’s Power Equipment, a STIHL dealer with three locations in North Carolina, appreciates the support of manufacturers and works hard to maintain those relationships. He has said he prefers to team up with manufacturers who continue to offer products only through independent dealers rather than cashing in on the lure of the big box stores.
“We feel we have a partnership with these manufacturers, because their entire interest is on the well-being of the independent dealer,” says Clay. “I feel the independent dealers need to support these manufacturers, so they will continue to do business this way in the future.”
We at Yard & Garden also like to show our support of the independent dealer and business owner. We regularly feature dealers who showcase excellence in business management and have maintained their main street status. If you would like to have your business profiled in Yard & Garden or the STIHL-sponsored Dealer Success Guide, send an email to [email protected].