Local small businesses fight against ‘Amazon effect’

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Fighting the ‘Amazon effect’. The digital marketplace continues to dramatically change the way people shop. Brick-and-mortar shops nationwide are feeling it’s impact — including here in Rockford.

“When it comes to the parts and stuff, it gets really hard to compete with Amazon price-wise,” said PC Tech 2U employee Dustin Lockwood.

Lockwood’s family has owned PC Tech 2U for nearly two decades. He believes Amazon’s convenience and availability is what blows everyone else out of the water.

“A lot of people don’t want to spend time looking around,” said Lockwood. “They don’t want to go out and search for the right place to find things. I don’t think they realize a lot of local businesses will do that for you, if you just ask.”

Owner of Bath and Body Fusion, Jenn Ralston, says sales at her shop are declining. She hopes their custom experience can attract residents to shop locally. Ralston also offers free shipping from her store’s website in an effort to compete with Amazon.

“You can come in and create your very own perfume or cologne,” explains Ralston. “We can custom blend it with over 200 oils. We put the personal touch on first class customer service.”

Local business owners say while some of their products might be online, shopping in person offers shoppers an experience to touch and see the items for themselves.

For Culture Shock owner Skyler Davis, being unique and exclusive is one of the keys to competing against websites like Amazon.

“We do carry over 40 local company’s items in our stores,” said Davis. “Which I know most of them aren’t even available online.”

Lauren Davis is the president of Winnebago Buy Local — an organization who focuses on encouraging the community to buy local. Davis says shopping small is crucial in supporting the local economy.

“Buying local benefits school, police, fire,” said Lauren Davis. “It benefits our community through different ways. It just makes it a unique place that’s different from anywhere else in the world.”

For a list of Winnebago Buy Local shops in the Stateline, click here.

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