The Big Advantage of Mom & Pop

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that I love to visit tackle shops — always have. I can’t begin to tell you how many I’ve been in through the decades, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the number was well into four figures.

Some of the stores have been gigantic … like the massive Bass Pro Shops mother ship in Springfield, Missouri. Others were so small I could touch an exterior wall from any position within the store.

All of them were interesting … at least to me.

When I’m in one of the smaller shops, I’ll often strike up a conversation with the proprietor. Whether I say something as banal as “How’s business?” or comment on his selection of this or that, it’s an icebreaker and gets the words flowing.

You might be surprised at how often the person behind the register says something like, “Well, we’re just a mom and pop store.”

Sometimes it’s done with a tone of modesty and accomplishment, but too often it’s said almost apologetically or in an effort to explain why the store’s not bigger, in a different location or better stocked.

That’s a shame.

I hate hearing someone apologize for what should be one of their greatest advantages.

It’s almost like LeBron James saying, “Yeah, I’m just a five-tool basketball player.”

Being a mom and pop store can be a big advantage if you leverage it right. A mom and pop store can usually move much more quickly than a big box to respond to market demands. A mom and pop should be much more personal. A mom and pop should be squarely on top of the issues and the fishing in its market. A mom and pop should be a key player in the community.

Do you consider your shop a mom and pop store? If you do, what are you doing to leverage that position? How does it distinguish you?

Do you use it to strengthen your position or is it an excuse for underperforming?

A rising tide lifts all boats. Let’s be that tide.