Why The Butcher Shop Closed
I had several sociables last night so I'm not feeling particularly cognitively fluent this morning. However, I nonetheless have a little story for you.
Yesterday I was driving home and I thought, we've no meat. I'll stock up on some rashers, chicken and minced beef.
I'm eating paleo these days you see and I need a plentiful supply.
So I took a slight detour to the local shops.
Not a significant detour it must be said, but a detour all the same.
I arrived at the butcher shop but the shutters were down. Strange, I thought. It's Thursday, these lads are usually open.
No drama, I jumped in the van and took a spin to the butcher shop up the road.
A bit further away but still local.
I like buying locally you see. I don't like buying supermarket meat because they have a reputation for being sneaky and underhanded in my eyes.
They know all the tricks.
A little while ago I went on a bit of a rant about our society's seemingly incessant pursuit of convenience.
There's no halting it.
We are all striving for a future that never gets here. In that striving, we think that moving faster or getting more things done in a day will bring us peace.
If I could just remove as many of these inconveniences as possible then I'll be happy, we say.
We are in such apparent everyday discomfort that these conveniences quicky catch hold and become socially integrated at the expense of valuable things.
Small providers like the butcher shop begin to disappear from the locality in favour of big chain stores where we can buy everything in one place.
However, I shouldn't bash big chain stores because I use them too. Besides, it's not completely their fault the small provider is disappearing.
You see, the butcher shop could have survived.
Responsibility has to be with to the business owner to get off their arse and promote their stuff to the people.
This is what you'll read in The Artist's Manifesto in the chapter titled Exchanging Art For Cash. I wrote about it earlier in the week.
Creative people, small business owners and such must accept that the public need to be shown, coaxed, convinced of our value over that which is already available.
If we are to make a career or business from our art or craft we've got to market it.
The Artist's Manifesto
The Artist's Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. Paperback out 2nd April 2018.
What The Butcher Shop Could Have Done
The butcher shop owner told my wife once that they just weren't getting the footfall they needed to survive.
He said he'd have to close down if things didn't pick up. They obviously didn't.
But there's so much the butcher shop could have done.
The butcher shop is one of seven or eight local businesses operating out of a row of shops built around the 1960s.
Local authorities required that housing schemes include these local retail hubs to serve the local people.
Footfall might be low to this particular row of shops but he and his fellow retailers could have done something about that. He could have been the reason people came.
There are three local GAA sports clubs, several soccer clubs, scout troops, five schools and countless other local groups that could be tapped for business.
The butcher shop could set up a stall on the street and give away free burgers.
What about a leaflet drop to 40,000 local houses offering 15% off coupon or some other deal?
They could have arrived at the schools when mothers are picking up kids and handed out the same leaflet.
What about giving away free chicken wings at the local sports club on a Saturday morning?
Sponsor a football team or a local school fundraiser, do a giveaway at Christmas time, join other local businesses and run a joint venture promo.
Small Local Communities Can Be Strong
You know, with a little effort from the butcher shop owner the local community could have been the life blood of his business.
But not once in my toing and froing around the neighbourhood did I see him out showing off his business.
As much as people can be convinced the supermarket convenience will make them happy, they likewise can be convinced that supporting local is good for them too.
People like dealing with people.
It is probably the main reason anyone does business with anyone else.
If I know you, like you and trust you to deliver the quality I expect then I'll deal with you. I'll come to your place and I'll buy your stuff.
If I don't know you then I'll stay away.
If I get to know you and I like the interaction then chances are I'll do some business with you.
Trust comes initially as a natural consequence of liking you, so if we get over that part then all you have to do is deliver the goods as I'm yours.
Bottom line here is that people like making conversation and having positive exchanges with others and if as a small local business you can do that then people will come to you.
The butcher shop could have set themselves up as the go-to place for fresh, high-quality meat and pleasant conversation, but they didn't.
So people ignored them.
No matter what we are selling we've got to get the attention of those who may buy from us.
There's no excuse here, it simply has got to be done.
As a creative, we've got to be relevant and we have the ability to make that happen.
It's the other side of the creative coin and we must embrace it.
The butcher shop a little further away is now the beneficiary of my custom and the other guy is dead in the water.
That's a pity but that's how the world works.
We have the ability to make ourselves relevant. We just need to stick our neck out a bit and take a chance.
Yes, we may get slapped a few times but I don't see an alternative if we are to do what we love and bring what we make to the world.
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