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A posting from Seth Godin touches on Local Scarcity. What a great topic to cover. This one is especially important for the local area that I live in here in Corner Brook Newfoundland.

Before there was a local Walmart here, and before Amazon was the power house that is is now. There were a lot more choice with local businesses. Some previous local businesses had a monopoly on the market which is to be expected in a small city pre-online shopping and pre-walmart.

Major Businesses that have Failed or were bough out here in Corner Brook

  • Kmart
  • Zellers
  • Target (Went out of business)
  • Sears (Went out of business) – this location is empty since Nov 2017

The same location was the previous home to Kmart, then Zellers, then Target. This location is still empty to this day. Currently a Boston Pizza being developed in part of the location, remaining areas still not used.  All failed where Walmart came in and dominated the local market with a wider variety of products, competitive pricing and easy of shopping for more products in one location. Also imagine the powerhouse that Sears was back in the 80s and previously. Here in Canada the Christmas Wish book was a big thing. I can still remember waiting for it to arrive and looking for all the Star Wars toys. Sears definitely missed the boat on the changing economy over the past few decades. From the smallest business to the larger major businesses, with powerhouses like Amazon and Walmart, it does make it hard for other companies to compete, and/or keep up with.

Even in the smallest locations, local scarcity cannot guarantee success. Granted there will be some business models that will depend on the business being local, but for the most part, in the world we live now, being the only game in town, is not enough. It’s too easy to purchase online and for a lot of times at a lower rate than you could get locally.

Local scarcity is not the major advantage it once was. That form of marketing is dying. Living in Newfoundland, there tends to be businesses that can rely on this tactic, but even in the smaller communities, this form of marketing cannot be a total reasoning for success. Often you’ll see a shop local promotion/advertising. It is good to shop local and support your local community, but these companies do need find that competitive edge against their competition and the competition is not only local. What sets them apart, what will keep their customers coming back for more?

I try to shop local as much as possible, but there comes a point when due to availability and/or pricing differences the online option wins out. I’m pretty sure there’s two businesses that will have longevity in Canada. One is Walmart and the other Tim Hortons.