Rachel Averbuck: Small, Local Retailers Need You

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Like many small retailers, Rachel Averbuck counts on local customers for help in the battle with huge e-commerce companies.

As a small business owner, this holiday season I am up against an Amazon with unlimited resources and insane reach. Our little shoe store is old school, we measure feet and sit‐and‐fit our clients for top-notch comfort shoes. Nothing too sexy or slick about us.

Amazon and Zappos have entire departments specializing in social media, inventory management, algorithms to prompt you to buy more. At our store, we do it all ourselves, with a few people wearing many hats. we specialize in face‐to‐face, contact and we’ve leaned into new ways of connecting with our customers and community.

We hustled up a website although we had sworn we’d never sell online, we figured out how to fit shoes over FaceTime, and created plexiglass protection zones to keep us all safe.

If you want stores like ours to be around, if you want to browse in bookshops, or touch and sit on furniture before you buy it, now is the time to join the battle against the all‐powerful Internet Gods.

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Before you take the one‐swipe‐to‐buy route this holiday season, please call your local businesses and give us a chance to battle Amazon. We’re scrappy and tough and, most importantly, we have you on our side.

You may have to wait a few more days than speedy two‐day Prime. You may have to do a curbside pick‐up or wait for me to return your call because I only have a few employees ‐‐ but I pay them a true living wage and give them benefits. They might be your neighbor.

Small retailers need you now. Literally, we will not be here without
you. The online giants are good at what they do, I do not deny that. And we are good at what we do: we know shoes and feet. We look you in the eye and thank you for making the choice to shop locally.

I am sure I can take on the almighty Amazon this season because I have you as my secret weapon.

With a Perspective, I’m Rachel Averbuck.

Rachel Averbuck lives in Sebastopol. Her shoe shop is in Santa Rosa.