To the editor:
I am baffled with Lawrence. We’re reminded to “buy local,” “support local merchants.” After all, spending money within our community ensures choices, provides jobs.
After being turned down by 97 percent of the merchants I approached peddling my wares in Lawrence — as I have started a distribution business here — I wonder about the contradiction. These stores have been supported by the community and have thrived.
“We’ve been with the same company for years; we don’t want to change” is a popular response. “We’re not interested” was said even before I could talk about pricing or that I’m trying to give merchants another source, to become competition, which drives down prices. There are those who initially seemed enthusiastic but never returned my calls nor e-mails.
When I asked those two or three who gave me a chance about providing the same brand/product they carry I was told, “We don’t want to change (distributors).” One manager apologized, which was sweet.
One potential customer set an appointment with me. After dressing, grabbing my bag of samples and price sheet then driving there, I was told they signed a contract with another company. I’m scratching my head as to why I was given an opportunity when there wasn’t one.
Do I want to support stores who won’t support me? Am I burning bridges by submitting this letter? I’m thinking probably not since there were no bridges to begin with.