Updated: Apr 24
Desert Birkenstock of Las Vegas and Henderson has been a family owned and operated business for almost 40 years. As a small business owner, nothing brings me greater joy than connecting my customer to the product best suited for them, with the kind of personal service that only a small business can provide.
A short history on me, my name is Amy Coykendall. I am the owner and operator of Desert Birkenstock. In 2011, our founder, Mary Hager (my mother-in-law) decided to embark on her next adventure, retirement. As with most huge decisions about next steps, my initial thoughts were less of “Oh no! I have to find a different job.” but more “Oh my gosh – what are my customers going to do…?” My heart was deciding for me and at that point I knew I had to take over the family business.
Since joining the team in 1995, I have served generations of comfort shoe lovers, creating personal relationships with the whole family….feeling old now. I enjoy finding the right shoe for the person that has decided nothing can work. There was a time when I was brought to tears as I came alongside a customers journey of disappointing shoe experiences. She became emotional and even cried because she was so happy she finally found a shoe that fit her foot. These are the moments that remind me WHY we do what we do. A great source of pride that I have in our stores are the personal relationships and guidance we can provide with our expertise. If we don’t have it, we will point you in the right direction.
We try to be innovative and make our stores as interesting as possible to keep you coming back. But you don’t have to trust me – I didn’t make this stuff up. I went on the internet to see what was being said about the benefits to shopping local and there might be a few things that surprise you.
Improve the local economy
When a consumer buys locally, an increased amount of the money stays in the community. For example when $100 spent at a local business, $68 remains in the city where as when that same $100 is spent at a chain store or ‘big box’ store only $43 remains in the city. This is accomplished through jobs provided to the community as well as the services we employ locally to run our own business – for example, maintenance on our stores, carpet cleaning, window washing, etc.
Know the people behind the product
*Did you know, the majority of small-business owners say their employees stay with their business for at least four years. Shopping regularly at a local store, you enjoy the benefits of a personal connection.
This ensures a reliability of that friendly voice on the phone and familiarity of knowing when your favorite person is working so you can come in and chat. This isn’t the case when you’re desperately searching Amazon in your bathrobe for shoes you’ll most likely return.
#ShopSmall and Keep Your Community Unique
If being a Las Vegas resident has taught me anything it is that beyond the glitz and glam, the giant Statue of Liberty dawning her ‘100 story’ Golden Knights jersey or the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” secrets, there is a strong community of unique locals. Vegas can seem like a city catered solely to the tourist with strip malls and fashion outlets. But Vegas is equally an underlying small town with weekly farmers markets,
First Friday artists and makers, local restaurants, niche products and goods that only can come from the cultivated eye of a small business owner. The holiday season is an excellent opportunity to see what your local businesses have to offer. Shopping small means catching the sales on Small Business Saturday (Saturday after Thanksgiving) an extra savings day, what could be better? Supporting local businesses is beneficial for us all and ensures our local flair. We all want to keep the flavor of our unique and awesome city so #shopsmall, you’re going to be happy you did!
Better Customer Service
When you shop local, the business owner is directly connected to every employee in the store. Not only does that mean a personal approach but that we will tackle your problem seriously. I think most of us have waited on hold enough times and then get disconnected or
transferred around until you forgot why you even called. Those experiences we’ve all shared in which we just feel like a number to an employee daydreaming about texting on their break caring less about your purpose in shopping their store. “Small business owners strive to survive and one of the biggest advantages they have over large retailers is the ability to provide more personable, hands-on, and memorable customer service.”
More Personalized Service & Products
Having direct contact with the customer gives a more unique read on likes and dislikes that can occur in a local marketplace. Most large chain retailers have buyers that acquire merchandise for an entire season for the entire country – the same in every store (aka cookie cutter stores). Locally owned stores have the opportunity to react much faster to trends in the market to tailor their products to local needs.
I realize it may not be as easy to shop locally as online or your larger retailers, but we appreciate your business so much more. We all started our businesses because we wanted to do something we loved and saw a need for it in our community. We wanted to be a part of the community we live in and help our neighbors with the service or product we feel we can offer better.
Being a small business owner is a labor of love. It means researching during late nights and rescheduling in early mornings, it means product knowledge and employee morale boosting and the logistics of it all. It’s the kind of fulfilling work that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I believe in the exceptional products from amazing companies we work with and the care and knowledge my unique team and I provide. I love my Las Vegas and Henderson communities and the impact Desert Birkenstock makes on them.
So if you take anything away from this post I hope it is –
Shop your local businesses because we want to stay around for you.
Thank you for reading – and Happy Holidays! –
Family owned and operated for 39 years