Need versus want ...
Enter Hance Ace Hardware in Hopkins. It does a pretty good job of carrying the essentials and stocking the things we need for home improvements, landscaping our abode and fixing those little homeowner problems. I went to Hance for two things recently: adhesive remover and a rake. I found both quite easily with the help of a nice store worker. No, I didn't find 27 styles of rakes or 14 brands of glue remover. But I did find what I needed.
Perhaps that is what I love about small town shopping -- limited selections sometimes makes you remember what is important. Do I really NEED 27 choices of rakes? Or do I WANT 27 choices of rakes? Is it imperative to my well-being that I have 14 different brands to choose from when it comes to adhesive remover? Is my life better because I have more choices or is it better because I get what I need and I support local businesses at the same time?
As for me, I like supporting local stores for more than the reason above. Really good local stores will refer you somewhere else if they don't have (or can't get) what you need (or want). In the case of Hance hardware, I was also looking for cedar closet hangers and they didn't have the kind I needed. They referred me to another store down the street. Reminds me of the movie, Miracle on 34th Street when Santa refers the mother to another toy store because his store didn't carry the item and the mother was made a loyal shopper from that day on.
I realize Hance doesn't have the vast selection that those mega hardware chain stores have, but here are a few things Hance has that they don't:
1) Collection point to recycle holiday lights
2) Extra-friendly staff (like Katie) who actually knows the store and everything in it and can talk to you about what you need
3) Freshly popped popcorn, yum!
4) A warm, comfortable family-like atmosphere
5) A resident cat who will make you feel right at home
6) Time. Katie chatted with me for a good five minutes about my needs and what projects I was working on. She gave me advice and even told me a little about herself too. You just don't get that at mega hardware stores but only by shopping local.