Webfinding… How Main Street is losing to the big box retailers…

20140512_122321Noticed that my drier was drying but not spinning stuff around to be dried the other day. About 15 minutes work unplugging the defective dryer and removing it’s back panel revealed the problem: Drivebeltus Interuptus. Online search reveals that Lowes 40 miles away in Brookings looks to have a replacement. The hardware store and lumber store in Tyler 5 miles away should have the part, but their supplier’s websites choke on any kind of search involving terms like “dryer” and “belt”. Given that summer refuses to arrive, I need to run to the farm store in Pipestone for more pellets for the stove anyway, so may as well try said farm store and the local hardware store on Pipestone’s Main Street before I drive 20 more miles to the big box. Farm store has pellets but no belt, hardware store has a big display of new dryers but has trouble even looking up the part because it’s a Hotpoint and they sell Whirlpool/Maytag. Finally give them the length and get them to look it up by that, they don’t know or won’t admit that these parts are generic and the brand on the appliance means nothing. After 10 Minutes they give up and I make the drive to Brookings, where big box Lowes has it and a couple other sizes in stock.

I hate to Defend big box stores, but this is why Main Street is losing. Tyler but 5 miles away from me has an appliance dealer as well as the lumber and hardware purveyors, but none of them have searchable inventory. Like the hardware store in Pipestone, they’re wasting valuable capital and inventory on new appliances, a market the big boxes will beat them in every time, when they should be stocking parts in web searchable inventory instead. Sorry Main Street, you can’t blame this loss on the big boxes… You brought it on yourselves!

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