In Defense of the Little Guys

I ordered some parts the other day for that little fiberglass dune buggy I’ve been building forever. There are a million places to get VW parts online, but no one has ever stepped up and claimed my loyalty. Until now.

I actually prefer to buy from brick and mortars, and I’ll explain why in a minute. But I don’t have a parts place anywhere near me that carries what I needed, so I turned to the magic of the internet. I found this place called Moore Parts Source. I’ve seen their ads before, along with all the other VW parts houses, but don’t think I’ve ever ordered from them. They had the best price on these expensive parts, though, so I placed my order.

I suppose I’ve gotten thank you emails from companies before, usually in the context of an order confirmation, but I got another email from Moore the day after my order was confirmed.

Here’s what it said:

Hi Doug,

I’m one of the owners of Moore Parts Source and I wanted to say thank you for your first purchase from us yesterday.

We are a family-owned and operated small business and appreciate your support of our company. We have been in business for over 30 years and are here to stay thanks to customers like you! If you have any feedback, or want to say hi, reply to this email. We’d love to hear from you!

Wishing you all the best with your project!

Debra Shaw

I’ve been ordering parts for this thing for years, and no one has ever followed up with anything like that. I replied with a thank you for the thank you, and we had a brief friendly exchange, and I will now order everything else I need from them (assuming they carry it). I’m almost done with the project and don’t need much more, but whatever I still need, I’ll get from them.

Part of what resonated with me is the fact that they’re a small business. Yes, they’re no longer a brick and mortar (I found out when I asked if I could come by and pick up the parts). But they’re still a local business here in Orange County. And I know that most, if not all, VW parts suppliers are small businesses. It’s just that no one’s ever pointed it out like these guys did.

Don’t get me wrong, online is great for buying things you can’t find locally. In fact, this was a perfect example of that. But as much as possible, I strongly suggest you buy from brick and mortars in your own town. If you don’t, what do you think will happen to them?

I’ve seen and heard of people who go to their local store, try on shoes to find the right size or to make sure they like them, then instead of buying them right then and there, they go home and buy the exact same thing online. All to save a couple of bucks.

How in the world can your local stores survive if you just use them to find what you like, then don’t buy from them? These are your friends and neighbors and the parents of your children’s classmates and the people you sit next to at church. These are real families in your community.

Sure, it’s easier to shop from your keyboard, but if you don’t buy from the people in your community, they can’t survive. That means that eventually, they won’t be there so you can try on the shoes or see what color that dress is in real life. Jeff Bezos will be richer, though. And you’ll have saved a buck or two. So there’s that.

This is something I obviously feel strongly about, and hope you will too. Yes, I know some eBay and Amazon sellers are local guys, but if you buy directly from the brick and mortars in your community, they’ll make full profit instead of having to share it with eBay and Amazon.

By the same logic, I also prefer to go to our local restaurants when we eat out. I’d rather support Cassano’s than Pizza Hut, Billy’s Deli than Subway, and Adolfo’s than Taco Bell. I know, the Pizza Hut or the Subway or the Taco Bell might be owned by a local person, but typically, franchisees own more than just one or two restaurants. Often they own 20 or 30 or 40 or more. To me, that’s not supporting a small one-off or even a small chain.

So I encourage you to support the little guys where you can. Shop and buy locally, and you’ll be supporting your own community.

Freelance copywriters, though, now that’s a different story. No need to hire only local freelancers. Go ahead and hire one based on what you read on a blog or their website. In fact, that’s really a smart way to go. You don’t want a bunch of freelance copywriters running around cluttering up your place anyway, with their pithy t-shirts and their Cheeto-stained fingers. Best to just give them an assignment and let them go away and work their magic elsewhere.

Trust me on this one. Follow my advice, and we’ll all be better off.

2 Thoughts to “In Defense of the Little Guys

  1. Great story about the VW store. I make a lot of effort to shop local and support the small guy. I work with Rugged Radios often. They build electronics for buggies like yours if you need some high tech. They might seem big from their online presence, but I know the owner and how hard they all work.

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