Bowling Green shops' secret weapon to surviving in an online world

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- There was a time when a Kentucky guy or gal online shopping from a store located in New York or California was unheard of.

Today, it's practically second nature, but what have savvy online shoppers cost local, small businesses?

"Online shopping has made a huge impact to retain businesses here and everywhere," admitted Susan Hoechner with Barbara Stewart Interiors.

Hoechner told 13 News her store has tried to combat the online craze by pushing the "Shop Local" campaign to the front of our mind.

"Educating the public really helps, and letting them know what kind of impact shopping local and keeping the money local - it's important."

Only a couple of months into the new year in Bowling Green, it seems that small businesses aren't the only ones taking a hit.

Macy's and K-Mart are both closing their doors, and J.C. Penny has announced that they'll be closing 100 stores later this year. Could Bowling Green be one of the stores on that list? We'll have to wait to find out.

"I think the malls are in trouble from the online shopping," said Hoechner.

So, what's the key to a brick-and-mortar store surviving in an online world? Bowling Green businesses say it's all about the customer service.

"We try to go over the top with customer service," said Pink Daisy manager Jill Smith. "I want our customers to walk in here, and walk out of here feeling good about themselves, and you know, you can't get that online."

In some cases a shops ability to provide a one-of-a-kind product can play a role in keeping money local, but Smith says that isn't the case with Pink Daisy, and they're still thriving.

"You can find everything in this store online, and so that's what is so wonderful about the service that we give to our customers, and our customers are very loyal to us."

Looking around Barbara Stewart Interiors, Hoechner says she does see adaptation and the ability to change both being key to the future of small businesses.

"I think local retail businesses are here to stay. We may change, we may not always be what we started out being. We have to evolve, or you'll die."

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