September 18, 2017
Challenges of rural retailing are balanced by advantages, including connections with the community
Running a retail establishment in a rural area can be tough: store owners must compete with big-box retailers such as Walmart and online sources like Amazon. But rural retailing can have some big advantages, Melanie Plenda reports for The Sentinel in Keene, N.H.
One of the biggest advantages is how invested owners are in the local community. They appreciate the quality of life rural living brings, and are actively involved in their communities, one store owner told Plenda. That’s good for the community and good for the store owners, since such involvement makes for a loyal customer base.
But the lack of foot traffic can make running a rural store challenging. Rural retailers are trying to offer more incentives to keep customers coming, like in-store order pickup, rewards programs, and customer appreciation events. But the best thing they offer is customer service, Plenda reports.
“It’s understandable in today’s world that many retail stores have become discouraged by Amazon and the online sellers,” said Elizabeth Hamshaw, owner of pet and farm supply store The Cheshire Horse in Swanzey, N.H. “But there are certainly plenty of ways to compete and remain a business of choice for your customers.”
The Lazer staff also contributed to this story