Buyer’s choices make difference


Recently a letter was penned to The New Era wherein the writer took issue with the prices here locally in Sweet Home (Local prices too high for writer, Feb. 4). I read this letter with great sadness as a local business owner who has made a concerted effort to keep prices low.

We have owned our store for almost five years now. Even now, with business slow, and our customer base dropping off, we are still pricing our products between 15 to 25 percent BELOW retail. We offer over 650 items in bulk.

A jar of cloves might cost you $6 at the grocery store; the same quantity costs you about 70 cents here. Think about all the spices in your spice cabinet; now consider getting them at a fraction of the cost, and they are much fresher.

The big picture is more than just one item. A nationally recognized powdered vitamin retails for $99, both on the Internet and in other brick and mortar stores. Our price is $79.95. That is a reduction of 20 percent, this while our costs increase and sales decrease. How much lower should a local business go? We not only need to stay in business, but we need to make a living as well.

I’m not sure where this individual had the experience he outlined in his letter, but I would remind everyone to compare apples to apples. If you are comparing our products to those at Wal-Mart, or even Bi-Mart, remember that we all get what we pay for. Would you rather pay $1.37 but not have anyone to advise you, or stand behind their products? Ultimately, there will be a payoff for that “lower” price.

I went shopping at one of these stores several months ago and was recognized by a friend, who proceeded to ask for my advice on that store’s products. Why did she ask me? Probably because she knew I would have a better grasp on the answer than an employee of that establishment.

I’ve even had people who buy products mail order, then when they weren’t happy due to quality issues, ask me to give them a refund since I carry the same product!

All small stores have had to adjust their operating paradigm. I’m not keeping as deep an inventory and I’m requesting that my customers give me time to order in their products. The trade-off is that they have benefited from our lower prices through the years and still do. I was there for them during the good times, and I respectfully ask that I am given a chance during the hard times.

Our store offers a level of customer care that is hard to find anywhere, that is a small town characteristic that you will find in Sweet Home stores.

How are we going to manage when gas is $5 gallon and we are taxed for mileage? Then that extra half dollar does not look like such a great deal.

Just remember, as a small community we all need each other. You may not need me now, but where will I be when you do? Will I still be here? God knows my heart is in service to Him through this store. Only He knows if I will still be here.

Thank you citizens of Sweet Home for supporting your local businesses. We truly do appreciate you!

Brandi Hawkins

Periwinkle Provisions

Sweet Home