Have you ever walked by a store going out of business, been upset about it, but couldn’t think of the last time you actually shopped at said store? It’s no secret — retail (and especially fashion retail) has taken a hit in the past few years, due to evolving shopping trends, e-commerce, and the Amazon effect. But, of course, there are many local business owners determined to keep the boutique shopping experience alive, for a myriad of reasons.
“I spend a lot of time educating my customers,” says Julie Root, owner of STILE Fashion Home in Armonk. “Retail is dying in areas you might not think of. “When you go to the ATM, you aren’t allowing the bank teller to do their job. Take a little extra time and get valuable human interaction by stepping up to the window.” She continues, “Those automated check-out machines [at grocery stores, for example] might seem like a quick option, but who will help you if they cut down on cashiers?”
“In this age of e-commerce, where websites like Amazon are delivering goods to your doorstep within hours, it is easy to forget about your neighborhood mom-and-pop shop,” says Ginghi Clarke, owner of INSPO boutique in Pelham. She explains, “I think it is important for consumers to know how much of an impact they have when they choose to shop small. You’re supporting someone’s dream, a story, and ultimately their livelihood. I still believe human interaction is irreplaceable.”
“One of the most important reasons to shop small is that small stores offer something completely different from the larger chains,” says Chappaqua’s House of 29 owner, Sarah Mass David. “At House of 29, we do research to find our designers who are unique and not sold in the immediate area. We buy with our customers in mind and provide a service of personal shopping, creating a relationship with each and every customer.” David explains, “Many designers and brands offer only their more basic designs and only specific designs to the larger chains. Shopping small means that each town has unique stores and offers each downtown a unique feel and vibe. This then trickles down into what the downtown has to offer, plus home value, taxes, stimulating the economy, et cetera. It is vital that each town does not become cookie cutters of one another, or, even worse completely vacant and abandoned.”