Like most of us, I like to support local businesses when I can. But on the other hand, I make many of my purchasing decisions based on price, and so a lot of my purchases are done online. In the past week or so, my wife and I have made a couple of purchases for our new house. To my surprise, we've been able to support local businesses and get the best price for both purchases.
First example was a new bed. When we moved everything from LA a few weeks ago, I finally tossed the old waterbed frame I made back in about 1978. It had served me well, but we decided we wanted a king size instead of a queen at the new place. (We both prefer the old school "full motion" waterbed...no baffles, tubes, or polyester filling. Just a bag o' water in a wood frame.) Best I can tell, there is only one store in Albuquerque that still sells waterbed frames and mattresses. We went to the store last weekend and found a frame and headboard style we both really liked. It's oak, in a clean and simple style. The base has six drawers for storage under the bed. Yes, I could make my own, but by the time I purchase the materials at retail prices, I'd be at about the same cost of buying a manufactured one. Plus, I don't have a shop yet, and won't have mine set up for several months. The frame and headboard we chose are made by a one-man shop in a neighboring state (Colorado) and the padded rails are made at another one-man shop here in New Mexico. And the best part is that the local (family-owned and operated since 1988) store beat all the Internet outlets by at least $100, and the Internet guys don't include setup, whereas the local shop does. I was happy to give them our business.
Second example was a new TV. Although I don't watch TV much at all (I even discontinued my cable TV service at the apartment), we wanted a new TV to replace the old CRT model we got rid of in LA before the move. After doing a bunch of research, I settled on a particular model of plasma TV made by LG. It's being discontinued (as are all plasma TVs before too long), so the prices are better than LCD TVs with comparable features. I had been planning to wait until the Black Friday sales to see if the price would drop any more, but was also a bit nervous about this particular model selling out before then. So a couple of days ago I went to a large local family-owned appliance store to see how their prices compared to what I was seeing on the Internet. Turns out they were about $10 lower than the best price I could find online (and that's including sales tax). I mentioned to the salesman that I was thinking of holding out for Black Friday sales, and he told me that this store has a 60-day price matching policy. In other words, if I find the same TV sold for less anywhere (including online) between now and the first week of 2015, they will refund any difference. And in fact, if this store drops the price, they will call me and tell me to come to the store to get my refund check. Needless to say, I bought the TV from them.
We are planning several other furniture and appliance purchases in the next month or two, and we'll definitely be giving the local shops a chance at our business.