This was my second post I wrote when I first started traveling. I felt obligated to write it for all the small businesses out there. At the beginning of my travels, I had the desire to support the small businesses in each town I visited as much as I can, and I’ve continued that endeavor to this day.
Using “The Little Guy” to Fix My Motorcycle
January 21, 2015 – Day -7 (seven days before leaving the US)
Today, I went to get help fixing a part on my motorcycle. I found Dr. Brown’s Motorcycles in NW Portland online as the only non-dealership in the area and figured I’d give him a try. Turns out he operated from his house with hardly a sign visible. I actually missed it the first time I passed by and had to ask a shop a street away from where he was. But I found it, and what a find!
Dr. Brown has been in business forever, and he really knows his stuff. Just looking at my bike, he was able to point out some things that needed to be repaired or adjusted. Not because he wanted more money (like most mechanics do), but for my safety. He gave me instructions on how to repair the broken part of my bike on my own, and helped to ensure I was fixing the right part. Later on when I had difficulty with the repair, he fixed it up for me without even charging.
This isn’t a story about repairing my bike. It’s a story about going to a place in town that has been in business forever, despite all the “big businesses” trying to take him out. Another shop even opened up a block away to sell motorcycle parts. Why compete? Here’s a guy who has been fixing motorcycles for who knows how long, making his living doing what he likes. Per reviews I saw on-line and another customer I talked to while there, his prices are dirt cheap. His customer service is excellent, which is more than I can say for many of the corporations I dealt with in America. What more could you ask for?
When I see places like Walmart (which seems to target small communities), I avoid them like the plague. I plan to primarily the small towns in my travels, and I will definitely make it a point to visit support the small businesses in those towns. Those small businesses aren’t there to get rich. They’re there to help. So why not help them back and support them? Even if they are more expensive than the megacorp down the street that can import all its knock-off products for a tenth of the price and make a fortune, it’s worth it.
Not a long post, and I’m probably not the expert on small businesses, but I felt it was worth the rant.