When it comes to home improvement why would someone go to a big box store instead of a small mom and pop shop?  And vice versa?

The obvious answer to why someone would go to a big box store is convenience and price. Typically speaking, it’s easy to go to one store for all your needs. On one shopping trip you can pick up everything for your new flower bed, cleaning supplies, new door knobs, and have new carpet installed in your home.

Big box stores are generally cheaper than small mom and pop stores because of the discounts they get for ordering in such large quantities. However this is difficult to compare apples to apples with the mom and pop shops.

big box store

For example, when it comes to flooring, most manufacturers do not sell the exact same product to the big box stores as they do other retailers and mom and pop shops.  This is how they are able to sell to different stores.  They may have similar lines, but they will always have different product lines and color names.

On the flip side, why should you go to a mom and pop shop instead?  Personalized attention.  The sales staff at a big box stores have too much to do and are usually under staffed and covering multiple departments.  For example, the last time I went to a big box store, the sales person I spoke to about new flooring the trip before, was now stocking paint! This does not inspire a vote of confidence.

When you go on return trips to mom and pop shops the person who you were talking to about new flooring is usually still in the showroom, not down stocking in the back.

Mom and pop shops can be more expensive compared to a comparable product at a big box store but sometimes they can get a special order product quicker.  Big box stores don’t always get the product straight from the manufacturer. Sometimes they ship with the cheapest method possible which can delay your product’s arrival.

When you are dealing with a small mom and pop shop, they can charge extra to have an order expedited or if near a major city can pick it up at a warehouse and deliver it straight to you.

Big box stores and small mom and pop shops both have their place in the retail world.  Neither one is better or worse than the other one.  It just depends on what your individual needs are for your next project.  And by educating yourself on the pro’s and con’s of both you can save yourself from making a mistake on your next home makeover!

Written by Amanda Hartley