You Gotta Be Open for Us to Shop Local

26 Mar

OpenHey Indian Trail businesses, is there some ordinance we’re not aware of that prohibits you from opening up earlier than 11 a.m. on Saturday – or God forbid at all on Sunday? How many more businesses have to fail before an owner understands that when you first start out, you’ll probably want to have your doors open as much as possible? Indian Trail is primarily residential, so any time a new business opens, we’re interested in supporting it. But as a couple that works during the week, most of our “support” comes on the weekends.

So when a new breakfast spot or coffee shop happens to open, we’re usually excited at the idea of grabbing the paper, heading to said establishment, spending a little time relaxing with our coffee and trying to become one (…or two) of the locals. There are a couple of go-to breakfast spots in our town, but they’re your typical country cooking (think biscuits, gravy, and sausage). We’re lacking that place that isn’t the status quo where you might be able to get a benedict or even a bowl of fruit in the morning. Though it seems if such a place was created, it would struggle to succeed because of poor business practices.

In the last year we saw a bookstore/coffee shop open that appeared would have the potential for, if anything, an early morning coffee both during the week and on a lazy Saturday. There’s only on problem - they never opened up earlier than 10 a.m….ever! Don’t people want to drink their coffee before mid-morning?

They sat on Old Monroe Road – a main artery the vast majority of residents use for commuting to Charlotte. Wouldn’t it make good sense to open up for all that potential traffic? The business seemed to be invested in the space they were renting. A huge makeover to the building had us really believing that something good was coming and would last. You don’t dump a bunch of money into a business just for it to fail within 6-8 months.  If something isn’t working, why wouldn’t you re-evaluate and try a different tactic to reach new customers? I don’t know the owners so I can’t speak to why things never changed, but it seems that stubbornness and pride kept them from adapting.

It seems like a lot of people get into these small businesses and think that customers will just show up at their door. And I guess there’s some element of truth to that statement, if your product is good. But in a small town where reputation is everything, a good first impression is crucial…along with some consistency.

Another new restaurant has opened across the street from the now-closed bookstore/coffee shop. A big “Grand Opening” sign sits at their storefront letting people know they are open for business. I think they’ve been open for about two months now, and another sign near the busy intersection advertises “Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.” So after an early morning trip to the Matthews Farmer’s Market, we remembered their sign advertising breakfast. We pulled in and found an empty parking lot, lights turned off, and no sign of anyone stirring inside. Dejected…we took our hard-earned money and spent it in a neighboring town.

Since that day we’ve driven past to see that they still aren’t open for breakfast. At this point, I’m just not interested in ever going there. And I can only imagine we’re not the only ones who feel this way about the lack of consideration some businesses are showing toward their potential customers.

If you’re supposed to be open in the morning for breakfast, try to be there. If you aren’t, can you take the sign down until you’re ready? As the customer, once you lose my trust, I begin questioning other aspects of your business (like the food, cleanliness, etc). It may not be fair, but it’s the unfortunate truth. You get a small window of opportunity to impress customers…so don’t blow it right out of the gate. We make the effort to support our community – It would be nice to see some businesses do the same. Until then, I guess “shopping local” will still mean more Charlotte and less Indian Trail.

Image courtesy of: Lockstockb
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