An Open Letter - Supporting Local in the Media

The following is an open letter addressed to The Arizona Republic and Channel 12 News. It is written by David Stoller, owner of Suitcases & More, a member of Local First Arizona.

I am a loyal reader and daily subscriber of the Republic since 1974 when many thought you to be too conservative……I am a loyal viewer having a daily obsession with Channel 12 since Kent Dana proudly announced the birth of a third generation future broadcaster and Dewey Hopper was, well, Dewey.

I reach out to you, The Arizona Republic and Channel 12.. It is heart breaking every time a reporter tells your allegiant audience to avoid local businesses by going on the internet instead of supporting LOCAL. I have supported your local paper and local station for nearly 40 years and enthusiastically plead to you that you increase your efforts to drive more LOCAL business.

I understand that it’s difficult to tell such a large audience spread over such a huge territory to take the effort to use single location local businesses when they may be so far from them, but I need for you to understand that telling people to shop at Amazon, is like telling your viewers to read Wall Street Journal and watch FOX News, your competitors. Paying an employer to come to town to save people money and then increase sales taxes on the citizens because of Amazon’s and other’s avoidance, is like our competitor being supported by my own business, which, according to my education at Arizona schools, is not so good for my business. The internet will remain powerful, but listeners should be given the option of typing or driving to their retailer and it’s up to you to offer both.

To demonstrate my concerns, I refer you to the Travel Agent that 12 promotes, who wants your listeners to use her small local business, but then turns around and tells your same listeners to go online for their travel products. She is contradicting her own business philosophy. Why doesn’t she just tell them to use Orbitz for all of their travel planning? A good Travel Agent will offer advice. A great Travel Agent will point the way.

I refer you to the article in Sunday’s Travel Section written by Jill Cassidy who tells your readers to go online, while also referring businesses that have no knowledge on the topic (Best Buy for international electrical needs?).  Dawn Gilbertson has done a fantastic job since taking on a focused role as a travel expert, yet I’ve never had the pleasure to meet her and show her what we do. Forgive my arrogance, but I don’t believe there is any retailer in Arizona that knows more about traveler’s needs than my own, Suitcases & More.

And, there are very few retailers of any kind who will guarantee any price against any retailer, internet included. We don’t try to trick our customers with false “retail” prices so that “sale” prices look impressive. When a retailer promotes a sale at 50% OFF plus another 10% discount with the coupon, that’s our everyday price. We do not move objects around under cups trying to confuse people about the real price. “Local” has taken on an incorrect meaning of more expensive and inconvenient. As they say in grammar class, “that ain’t right”.

With added competition, all of our businesses need to align and create loyalty, trust, and borderline obsession from our customers/readers/viewers. I reach out to you, the leaders in communication, to inspire people to think and reason, to understand the need to aggressively support their neighbors, which is how you build a strong city. I understand the internet’s dominance in our lives, but I hope to open your eyes and ears to my store and experience, as well as many other Local businesses. Maybe I should host a segment showing how a local business can compete with the internet and why our lives will be better for it. Please realize that “Local” can coexist with “Online” and is the only way that our cities will recover and prosper.

I leave you with words to live by….I BELIEVE.

David Stoller
Suitcases & More
9301 E. Shea
Scottsdale, 85260