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That Team Up North!

To fans of college football, the week in November which encumbers the Thanksgiving holiday is known as Rivalry Week.

The time reserved for settling the bad-blood between two university’s opposing views of their history!

And while those games receive outsized attention on their respective campuses, rarely do the Civil War, Iron Bowl or Red River Showdown have much impact on the greater college football scene.

But each year, at 12:00 PM on the Saturday after Thanksgiving THE Buckeyes from Ohio State and Wolverines from the University of Michigan play their rivalry game.

With the winner often moving on to a spot in college footballer “final four.”

Coming into THE game this year THE Buckeyes and Wolverines were ranked # 2 and # 5 respectively making it the 12th time the rivals have met while both teams were ranked among the nation’s top-five.

The animus between the two schools combining with the relevance on the play-off picture combine to make THE Game, college football’s second greatest rivalry behind Army-Navy.

High Noon

This Saturday, with a spot in the College Football Playoffs and its accompanying one-in-four chance of winning a National Championship on the line, the Ohio State Buckeyes took the field to battle their hated rivals, the Wolverines of Michigan.

The largest stadium in the western hemisphere Big House on the campus of the University of Michigan hosted the 117th meeting between the bitter rivals.

In honor of the rivalry, I reminded my friend Phil how much less four-years of drinking beer costs in Columbus than it does in Ann Arbor.

Independent’s Day

While my Buckeyes were losing their shot at a national title, a Warren Buffet owned company made efforts to help Americans recognize the crucial role small business plays in our economy.

American Express, sponsoring Small Business Saturday for the 11th year-in-a-row.

Benjamin Moore owner Berkshire-Hathaway owns an 18% stake in American Express, the $38,000,000,000 per-year payment card and travel company.

Small Business Saturday, a marketing program in support of small and locally owned businesses, was American Express’ effort to help the country’s small retailers hold on to business being lost to the nation’s largest retailers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Ladies and Gentlemen, THE Pandemic

It would be hard to argue that the changes in consumer behavior stemming from the coronavirus pandemic are anything other than permanent and consequential. A survey released earlier this year by market intelligence firm Numerator showed that an 90% of American consumers report changing their shopping habits since the onset of our shared Covid experience.

In that survey 87% of the respondents stated that they had purchased goods online between March and December of 2020, with 51% sharing that they had picked-up those purchases, either in-store or at curbside.

The prevalence of retailers offering in-store and curbside pick-up, services nascent or non-existent respectfully pre-covid, should be evidence enough of the seismic shift in shopper expectations. A shift, the size of which would never have been possible in the absence of an extraordinary event.

Of course, with the growth in the home building and improvement sectors the big box retailers continue to grow both revenue and profit.

But the American consumer has not limited its bias towards shopping in smaller and locally-owned retailers to Small Business Saturday.

The independent retailers of paint, hardware and window treatments I speak with continue to share that their financial results mirror or are even better as a percentage, than the results recently announced by Home Depot.

My experience as a consumer this weekend highlighting some of the differences which make shopping locally more appealing than a trip to the big boxes.

On the shopping list for the weekend was a Christmas tree, lights and batteries, food, baked goods, and an upgrade to the sound system in the corporate headquarters of THE Revolution.

By staying away from the shopping hubs which are Home Depot, Super Stop ‘n Shop and Best Buy, Guy and I were able to avoid most of the traffic Stamford is becoming known for!

Guy of course is my fiancéeic Gaetana.

Originally from Stamford, she puts the “G” in GPS when you need to get around the City that Works!

With the neighborhood roads less likely to have traffic issues as compared to the state roads and highways needed to reach most big box stores, a day planned for shopping, was just half!

And with the owners of Karp’s, Beldoti’s, Grade A food stores and County Television all living within 25-miles of Stamford, I know that the profits the retailer earned from our purchases will get spent locally, putting a tee-shirt on the back of a Little Leaguer’s, rather than another decimal place on a billionaire’s balance sheet!

When added to the ungraded in-store experience offered by the locally owned retailers it's easy to see why consumers continue to gain preference for independent retailers.

Making it easy to understand why the independent paint dealers I’m speaking to continue to set records.


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