Thursday, May 8, 2014

Shopping Local: How Overthinking Can Remove Choice

On A Personal Note...

Signature Tree Service has always prided itself on being a local business. Owner, Curtis Fosnaugh, loves his home turf in the countryside of Northern California. Having grown up here, Curtis has a natural affinity for agriculture and horticulture. From there, came his love of trees.

We've developed over the years due to demand for quality by consumers that Curtis is driven to satisfy. Signature Tree was fortunate that customer satisfaction, referrals and repeat business saw us through The Great Recession. And we’ve added satellite offices and crews to cover areas where we were getting calls but could not service locally before.

Recently, we were not chosen for a job in Sonoma because we are a Vacaville based company, just 35 miles from Sonoma! And, although our marketing agency is based in Sonoma County and we have many local ties to the area (referral networks, friends/followers, Home & Garden Shows, satellite office), our neighbors in this particular scenario felt Signature Tree was too far to be local.

Northern California is our home and we wouldn’t trade it for the world! So let’s talk local…

Local vs. Regional vs. National

You would think that “local” in California is a larger footprint than in, say, tiny Rhode Island, but due to the awareness of buying local among highly conscious Northern Californians, it remains quite small in our area. When consumers here want “local”, they are talking within about 20 miles or less. This is micro-local. Anytime you can shop on a micro-local way, it’s the most effective place to start when shopping local.

The challenge is that micro-local can remove choice. Control over the quality of service/product is reduced when variety and competition are slim. The product or service within 20 miles may not be as high of quality as a “regionally-local” item from the next county over. 

Local job: Root collar exam, Napa. April, 2014
This is why regionally local is a completely acceptable form of shopping local. Regionally-local is the next best thing to micro-local. Some of the revenue and tax dollars will remain in your county, and all state taxes are recycled. Also, the company providing the product/service is likely hiring individuals from your county so local economic development (LED) is happening and strengthening local economy (i.e., our marketing agency being based in Sonoma County).

National companies are the antithesis of “local”. They often talk the talk about having local franchise owners and employees but when it comes down to it, most of the revenue from national companies goes back to their home state. 

One of the ways national companies grab business from smaller local/regional mom & pops is through a strong online presence. National companies have a larger marketing budget, allowing them a strong reach to consumers. And it works! Often, consumers will see 72 reviews and pick up the phone without considering whether the company is local, regional or national.

NorCal Supporting NorCal

Signature Tree Service always appreciates doing business locally. No matter where the job, you will NOT find Curtis frequenting franchise restaurants—ONLY locally owned and operated.

We are proud to be Northern California’s local and regionally-local Certified Arborist and Tree Risk Assessor. We proudly open the doors to quality and local competition that is healthy for our communities, economies, and of course, trees! 

If you have a question or need our help, feel free to call Signature Tree Service at 707-449-8653.

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