I bet if I were to ask you to name a few “Mom and Pop shops” in your area that you love, you could easily do so. We all could. You know, those little places that have been around forever, who are still doing the same thing now that they were doing thirty years ago. There’s definitely a certain charm about them, and even if you end up spending a couple extra bucks, it feels good to go there and see the familiar faces, smell the familiar smells, and feel like you’re transported back to a simpler time.
A lot of these types of places probably don’t have websites. The owners may be older, so they might not understand how the whole thing works, or if they have a little bit of an idea, they might just think it’s not necessary for them to have one. They probably figure that by now, word has gotten out about them, people know about them, and they don’t need the internet to help their business–”we’ve made it this far without a website, why start now?” Well I am going to argue that even the littlest, cutest, most established Mom and Pop shop–even they need a website.
Here’s why. We live in an age where just about everyone uses the internet, constantly. In my own personal observation, this has increased dramatically, even in the past five years or so. All of a sudden we are at a point where everyone under the age of, say, 70, is using the internet on their smart phones to help them do different things throughout their day. There was a time when there was maybe one or two people in every group that would bring out their phones to look something up when the rest of us were trying to dig back in our memories to figure it out. Now, everyone is doing it–it’s pretty much just a race to see who can type the question in Google the fastest.
Because the internet has become such an integral part of SO many people’s lives, at least in our culture, the Mom and Pop shops need to make sure they have a space, a presence in that world. If not, then unless a person has heard about them the old-fashioned way (word of mouth, usually), then they would not know that the place existed. Think of it like this. If someone is new to an area, are they going to know about that business? When they decide they need a shoe repair place, a bike shop, whatever–are they going to talk to other people to get recommendations, or are they going to go online and do a quick search?
Back in the day, they would most likely ask around and get some recommendations, but these days, most people would just go online. Most places would show up on a Google search, but if they don’t have a website, then it could cause people to make certain assumptions about the business. They might think it’s behind the times, isn’t open anymore, or is not legitimate in some way. Unfortunately, if someone is totally unfamiliar with an area, they are not likely to look much further than the internet to find a business. So even if there is an awesome, local business nearby, if they don’t make a good impression online, then they could easily be overlooked by potential customers.
I love “Mom and Pop shops,” and I know I’m not the only one. And while there are probably lots of them that are doing just fine with the old-fashioned method of getting their name out there, there are also probably just as many who are struggling to stay open. Perhaps if they embraced technology, even just a little bit, in the form of a basic, informative website, they would be able to compete in this new day and age without losing their authenticity and charm. Most of us love supporting these kinds of old-school businesses–we just need to know about them.
If you know of a business that could use a website, please direct them to us here at FreshySites. We would love to help them establish themselves online. This is what we do.