Local businesses must stand out and adapt in order to compete, H-R Chamber of Commerce says

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Online shopping and spending money at billion dollar companies, like Amazon and Walmart, may be inexpensive and convenient, but they are the biggest sources of competition for local business owners.

About 20 percent of small businesses fail within their first year open, and after five years, 50 percent fail.

Small businesses and restaurants fill downtown Harrisonburg, but about 20 percent of small businesses fail within their first year open. according to federal statistics, and overtime, those possibilities only increase.

Frank Tamberrino, with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, said successful small businesses often find their niche by offering customers a unique product or experience.

"80 percent is making sure you have the products that the customers want versus just having products to choose from. And again, being very aware of what your competition is and how do you stand out amongst the competition," Tamberrino said.

Tamberrino said over the years, small businesses have been known to have a high failure possibility. He says people should realize not every good idea is a good business plan.

"You may make the best fried chicken," Tamberrino said. "Well, just because you make the best fried chicken in town doesn't mean you can run a business."

He added that local businesses must be offering different products and adapt with the times, like, for instance, the Friendly City Food Co-op.

"We're big on supporting the community and local and also carrying as many products by local providers and producers who otherwise would not be able to have an outlet to sell their products," Lindsay Denny, with Friendly City Food Co-op, said.

Denny said at the Co-op, they love being a part of the community and helping it grow.

"For every $1 you spend at a co-op, about $1.60 goes back into the community," Denny said.

She said the friendly service, local products, and specialty items set them apart from other grocery stores.