Local Business Say Service Keeps Them Ahead Of Online Sellers - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/26/07-Tyler

Local Business Say Service Keeps Them Ahead Of Online Sellers

So is "Cyber Monday" shoving a cyber knife into the hearts of local businesses? What are they doing to compete with online shopping?

For Tyler Athletics, baseball is the bread and butter for co-owner Brian Minton.  He has more and more specialty sports items all the time -- many things that people can buy online.

"When [customers] come in, they tell you that they've been shopping online and they ask you if you can match prices [and we can't], it definitely cuts into some of the business," Minton said.

He says many leagues and teams still shop local, but knows that some folks are trying for that great deal online.  He warns his customers that sometimes the deal is too good.

"I would say most reputable companies online, you can match their prices fairly easily, but there are some other fly-by-night companies that you're not sure what kind of product they're offering, and they're very difficult to match," he said.

"A lot of the internet retailers are not authorized dealers for the brands they sell," said Donnie Thedford of Don's TV and Appliance in Tyler.

He thinks as televisions get bigger, fewer will actually be sold online.

"Especially with a lot of the big items, the shipping [from online retailers] is curbside, there's no delivery to inside the house, and they'll drop the item essentially in your driveway... and you're responsible for moving it into your home," he said.

He says aside from installation, local businesses provide service after the sale that Internet storefronts just can't. 

But is there a point, when online retailers might cause brick and mortar businesses to fail?

"You never say never in our industry, but we continue to hold faith. We've been here 28 years and generally we feel what has kept us here, is do what we've promised to do."

He says service is the key to survival. 

Brian Minton of Tyler Athletics says local businesses give back to the community -- in their case, the Boys and Girls Clubs.  If money isn't spent locally, that cuts down their ability to give.

Morgan Palmer, Reporting.  morganpalmer@kltv.com

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