Independence day brings family, friends, and neighbors together for some fireworks, grilling, and celebration of our nation’s birthday. With the whole town donning red, white, and blue, we observe the notion of independence as the virtue of those who are bold enough to embark upon their own new path, one where they are free to make their own choices.
In this light, Black Ink would like to give an ode to those bold independents, who have what it takes to go their own way. Much like your Uncle Charlie’s Fourth of July cookout, we believe that independent business owners bring the local community together. That is, without your kids running through Charlie’s sprinkler with your hotdog, and with the promise of knowledgeable service, and passion for the industry.
There’s a bit of nostalgia that comes about when thinking of your neighborhood hardware store, or the gentleman your dad grew up with who has been selling tractors since Nixon was in office. If you’re old enough, you probably remember the smiling faces behind every storefront in your hometown. You probably also remember seeing them later behind the fence at your little league game when you turned a double play with their son. Independents then were always part of the landscape, part of the tapestry of every town, and they still are today.
In the light of 2016’s big, quick, and instant mentality, it’s no wonder something as good as ‘expertise’ and ‘passion’ in retail is seen as part of the past. However, that never went away for your local independent. As the shadows of 500-parking-spot retailers a half-mile from the exit ramp come to be seen as part of the landscape in Anytown, USA, you can bet your old dependable independent is still there. There’s also a good chance the kid you turned that double-play with is now behind the counter.
It’s no secret that consumers love choice. And as a millennial, the writer of this ode is admittedly a part of the generation that puts convenience on the top of the must-have list too. However, no customer will ever look poorly upon being treated as family, upon loyalty, or upon passionate knowledge. We just may need that reminder now and then that something good like that exists – and independence day is the perfect time for that kind of reflection.
In today’s world where everything seems so unstable, superficial, and opaque, it’s nice to know that those passionate small-town local-owned independents are still there. It’s good to see they’re providing the bedrock for community business, pushing along the area economy. There’s also something reassuring about knowing your money is staying local. That means there’s something special in your purchase from an independent retailer, when it means you are part of a network of loyal local customers and dependable independent retailers boosting your own local economy. People, free to choose, work with those who have chosen to be independent, and the whole town benefits as a result. To quote Mellencamp – “ain’t that America?”
So here’s to you, independent dealers. As those fireworks light up the sky and you celebrate everything that has made this country great for 240 years, reach out and thank an independent this Independence day for embodying the spirit of America.