Locally Owned

I was asked the other day what it meant “locally owned”.  The reason they asked is that we carry a national brand paint in Pittsburgh Paints, and buy our sundries through either an out of town distributor or direct from the manufacturers.  What benefit does Salem get?

It made me think.  It’s true that the majority of the checks we cut each month go out of town.  What benefit are we to Salem?

I came up with a couple of differences between Salem Paint and the company owned stores.

Employees.  Everyone at Salem Paint is from the Salem area.  Two from Salem and I’m from Lebanon.  Company owned stores tend to promote from within which means that if there’s a position available they will pull someone out of one store and put them in another.  They may come from Portland, Yakima, Las Vegas or anywhere that they find them.  It also means that the employees at the company stores are always on the verge of moving to a new “better” store creating frequent turn over at the store level.  I worked at company stores for years and was moved three times to new towns and stores.  I had assistant managers moved up and out and never knew if the guy that I depended on was going to be there next month or not.

The employees at Salem Paint have made this their career choice.  We average around 20 years at the same store.  When you come into Salem Paint there’s a good chance you can work with the same person you worked with on your last project and you can expect them to be there for your next.

The other reason is where the rest of the money goes after buying inventory.  In this current economic environment profit is a strange word but we still try to make one.  At a company store, when the nightly deposit is made, the money is pulled out and sent to corporate’s main bank in Portland or Cleveland or Atlanta or wherever .  It is then used to support the corporate empire and what’s left in the bank is used in those communities.  When Salem Paint makes it’s nightly deposit the money stays in Salem to be used in this community.  I read once that a dollar spent at an out of town based store will circulate in the originating community .5 times while a dollar spent in a locally owned store will circulate in the community 3.5 times, so shopping at a locally owned store benefits other local businesses and local development.

I think that covers the two main reasons though I’m sure there are other benefits to the community.