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Oct 9, 2013 05:19 PM

Hounds Makin' it Happen

Proposed: We Hounds should, when we can, be leaders in promoting all outlets which provide us with great food.

Case in Point: A hard working young couple has opened a fresh seafood market in my town (pop: 20K) 200 miles from the Gulf and they are striving to make it work.

Request: What do you think we local Hounds might do to gin up business for them? What have you seen work?

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  1. 1) Patronize the place.
    2) Talk it up to all your friends.
    3) Use Chowhound, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, email (your SM of choice) to spread the word.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tcamp

      Although I'm bad about doing it, I honestly believe that posting about it on yelp, Trip Advisor, etc. makes more of a difference. Look at the numbers. I think CHs don't make a big numbers difference. WE come here for recs but most people don't. Rarely do I come across anyone who's ever heard of us.

    2. Find out what sort of budget they have for marketing and/or charity functions or donations, then recommend them to schools, fundraisers, etc. (with their permission). Do they have gift cards? Do most of your Christmas shopping there.

      1. I'm all for local business over large corporate places. I mean they live where you do. For the same reason, I avoid chain restaurants.

        6 Replies
        1. re: treb

          Yup, agreed. Hence this Post. I want this couple to survive, and thrive, but though I shop there every week, I am worried. Meanwhile, The Big Chain Grocer nearby has a line at the seafood counter.

          Thanks all for thoughts so far. More?

          1. re: dickgrub

            Does Big Chain sell the same product? While I certainly support the local Mom'n'Pop place when I can, they have to offer something more than just "we're not a chain".

            I hope they are offering fresher, higher quality products than the Big Chain - OR keeping the prices competitive if it's of similar quality. I'll pay more for the Mom'n'Pop place when reasonable (like local fresh tomatoes at the Farmer's Market - but when same stand is selling, say, red peppers that they obviously bought at Big Chain, I'm not going to give them twice the price.)

            1. re: NonnieMuss

              Agreed completely. My first impulse is always to support the locals, but they must at least be competitive with the chains. Fortunately, in my neck of the woods, most of them are.

              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                Agreed. And I think customer service and employee training is paramount. I tried very hard to support a local coffee shop but when the owners decided to hire lower wage teens and dropped the training I finally gave up and ended up at Starbucks or DD. Surly teens who barely grunt at you, service stations not routinely stocked and cleaned will drive me to a chain everytime.

                1. re: foodieX2

                  Agree right back at you. We have an excellent local butcher who I patronize as much as I can - the staff is friendly and knowledgable, will give you cooking tips or explain how to trim. It's a pleasure to give them my business even though it's a little pricier.

                  Another suggestion that my butcher reminded me of - surely there's some sort of small business community in your town? Our butcher carries all sorts of local products - honey, jams, jellies, cheese, spreads, etc. - things that don't compete with their own stuff - and the retail outlets for those other products reciprocate in kind. Could they partner with other small local places or with the local Farmer's Market?

                  1. re: foodieX2

                    Yes, I've experienced something similar. Customer service costs very little, and as such, it is one area where the locals can whip the chains. If the locals fail in this mission, it tells me they don't care enough to justify my patronage, or to succeed.

          2. A specialist independent food business is always going to be at a disadvantage to the corporate power of the supermarket. The supermarket has the benefit that customers are already going there to buy other things

            To survive they have to find a niche market. That may that they can sell their products cheaper, or simply be able to offer a friendly smiling service, or be happy to take special orders for items not regularly stocked.

            We have a fishmonger in a nearby suburb. I'm afraid I'm not a regular customer but my sister in law is. She is now on the guy's list of "special customers" - means that when he gets particular fish, or seafood into stock, he will phone her to let her know. To my mind that's the sort of service you watn from a local specialist.

            1. Post about them on your local CH Board.