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Letters to the Editor

Internet impact

April 9, 2011

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To the editor:

After reading your recent article on the closing of the Bay Leaf store in downtown Lawrence I had to write. The owner stated that “the Internet is what’s killing us.” I hear their pain. I am a local travel agent trying to survive in this economy because I love what I do. I live here, I work here, I spent my hard-earned money here. The Internet has completely changed the way we, as travel professionals, do business.

We work tirelessly for our clients to help them get the best value for their vacation dollar, spending hours on research and cost comparison for no pay. We are only compensated when our efforts result in a sale. Imagine how frustrating it is when we finalize a quote that is exactly what the client wants, and they take the information and book it themselves online to save $15.

We are professionals with years of training and experience. Would you expect your doctor, lawyer, dentist or accountant to work for free? Our services are at no cost to our clients although some agents are now charging an upfront service fee because of what the Internet is doing. So please, remember, whether it’s a downtown store or a professional service, keep your dollars local. We will all benefit.

Comments

mr_right_wing 3 years ago

Wal-Mart is evil... Shopping on the internet is evil...

(cue 'imperial march') What does that make 'www.walmart.com'???

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Richard Heckler 3 years ago

Bay Leaf was online I believe.

In fact many local/downtown business establishments are online for shopping..... to include Free State Brewery.

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obamasocks 3 years ago

These sort of articles are ridiculous. Can the internet destroy a small local business? absolutely. HOWEVER, it can also completely save a small local business. The problem is too many small businesses drag there feet when it comes to marketing via the internet. Why not setup an ebay store, an Amazon reseller store, or some other online venture? Any one of these can help a business stay "afloat", competitive, and actually increase revenue. Locally. Small businesses need to be investing more in online marketing if they expect to succeed.

Moral of the story: don't blame the internet, its just the modern evolution of business...if you aren't willing to get on board, then close shop. Its the similar situation to what has happened with the adaptation of credit cards over the past 20 years. 20 years ago only a few grocery stores and no fast food restaurants accepted credit cards. Now, if you don't accept credit cards you are guaranteed to lose a ton of business.

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edjayhawk 3 years ago

Did I miss something here or why doesn't Bay Leaf offer products on the internet? Footprints transitioned to online several years ago that supports their retail and they are now a multi-million dollar business.

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rtwngr 3 years ago

Geez, I hate it when I agree with Merrill. PAYT is equitable (like the "Fair Tax") and encourages recycling. However this has nothing to do with the letter to the editor.

The dynamics of the market place changes as innovation evolves. Government intervention into the internet would be difficult to regulate and enforce. Protectionism for the sake of saving small businesses is not the answer nor will it ever be. Frankly, maybe the "Travel Agent" has outlived their usefulness in the market place.

The last company manufacturing buggy whips probably made the best darned buggy whip ever.

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Richard Heckler 3 years ago

In the meantime shop Weavers housewares in downtown Lawrence,Kansas

"And yet you advocate for putting the local recycling business people out of work. Which is it, Richard?"

Never said that anywhere. In fact that isn't true. Here's where I stand:

Pay-As-You-Throw

In communities with pay-as-you-throw programs (also known as unit pricing or variable-rate pricing), residents are charged for the collection of municipal solid waste—ordinary household trash—based on the amount they throw away. This creates a direct economic incentive to recycle more and to generate less waste.

Traditionally, residents pay for waste collection through property taxes or a fixed fee, regardless of how much—or how little—trash they generate. Pay-As-You-throw (PAYT) breaks with tradition by treating trash services just like electricity, gas, and other utilities. Households pay a variable rate depending on the amount of service they use. Environment/Equity/Economy

Most communities with PAYT charge residents a fee for each bag or can of waste they generate. In a small number of communities, residents are billed based on the weight of their trash. Either way, these programs are simple and fair. The less individuals throw away, the less they pay.

EPA supports this new approach to solid waste management because it encompasses three interrelated components that are key to successful community programs:

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/tools/payt/index.htm

I'm all for local recyclers absolutely ....... which is who we hire.

In the meantime shop Weavers housewares in downtown Lawrence,Kansas

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jogger 3 years ago

As beloved as the Bayleaf was, retail offers a very different experience from online shopping and many who have moved on would have continued to buy from the Bayleaf online if they had grown in the context of business in the last two decades. A retail outlet is most likely to thrive if they also offer online sales and remain unique and competitive.

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Doppleganger 3 years ago

Lawrence is a resort town. Why would anyone want to leave.

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Katara 3 years ago

My doctor, lawyer, accountant or dentist does not work on commission, which is what her pay is based on. It is a bad comparison.

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Scott Morgan 3 years ago

Being successful in business essentially is keeping up with the changing market place. Not a fan of Applebee's, but you have to admire the pick up service for instance.

How do we stay in business, how do we increase our sales and profit?

The best example are the Love Stores in Oklahoma. Need fuel? Need anything? Need a Vegan meal? This franchise offers everything a traveler could wish for, and serves the local market too.

My family perhaps like most others shops, and looks for value. Value does not mean cheap.

Value also doesn't mean settling for something else due to a limited line, or the item not offered locally. Lawrence offers fairly good shopping, but does lack in choices. Or maybe a better term, lack in amount of stocked product.

Merrill, we do agree on something. Weavers.

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panzermike007 3 years ago

when I am in town, I don't find much of what I want. I do like the Cork and Barrell , they have a nice selection of wines. Let's face it, for much quality shopping you have to either go to the Plaza, Zona Roza or the Legends, or get it on the internet.

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Richard Heckler 3 years ago

Shopping online can put people out of work face it. Losing the central business district to online shopping makes no sense at all. Putting people out of work means more tax dollar revenue will need to be covered by the rest of us.

Will we shop online? If we cannot find what we're looking for in Lawrence.

In the meantime let's not forget Weaver's has a decent housewares department. Offering that USA made Fiestaware for instance.

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Liberty_One 3 years ago

This is why capitalism works: the customer is ultimately in charge. One website can replace hundreds of travel agents, saving customers money. Travel agents must find ways to cut costs, offer something else to customers or they have to find a new career. Prices fall thus improving the purchasing power of everyone and improving everyone's lives.

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