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Thriving Amidst Change: Keeping Regulars Coming Back Amid Franchise Competition Coming In.

Greetings, Resilient Rural Business Owners!

In the heart of our rural towns, we have close-knit communities where local businesses have flourished for generations. These charming establishments have served as cherished gathering spots, with loyal regulars who are like family.

However, times are changing, and we now find ourselves facing a new challenge: the arrival of franchises in our midst.

As a rural business owner, you might wonder how to retain your cherished regulars amidst the allure of these new competitors. Fear not, for in this blog, we will explore effective strategies to ensure your regulars keep coming back, fortifying the unique bond that makes your business truly exceptional.


1. Embrace Your Local Charm: Personalized Experience is Key

One of the best aspects of rural businesses is the personal touch they offer. Create deeper connections with your regulars by remembering their names, preferences, and even special occasions. Cultivate a warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes them feel right at home. Franchises might have standardized experiences, but your genuine, personalized touch will set your business apart and create loyal patrons.

That is a lot to keep up with, but there is even technology that will show you their usual when they walk in because their phone is nearby. This is a cheat that your competition might be using, but you can achieve the same by just getting to know your customers.

2. Curate Authentic Local Experiences

Celebrate the uniqueness of your rural town through carefully curated experiences. Collaborate with neighboring businesses to host local events, festivals, or themed nights that showcase the region's culture, arts, and traditions. Regulars will appreciate the effort to preserve local heritage and be drawn to these special occasions, fostering a sense of community and loyalty.

If you have a brick and mortar establishment, we have some techniques to make the inside of your business stand out and represent your town.

3. Offer Value Beyond Price

While franchises might boast competitive prices, focus on providing value that extends beyond monetary benefits. Enhance your offerings with impeccable customer service, exclusive loyalty programs, and surprise perks for regulars.

Remember, it's the little things that count, and your dedication to going the extra mile will leave a lasting impression on your customers.

You do not have to have a sale to make people feel special. (read that again)

4. Leverage the Power of Social Media

Social media content is a valuable tool to stay connected with regulars and reach potential customers in the community. Engage with your audience through vibrant posts, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and real-time updates. Encourage regulars to share their experiences online and create a digital community around your business, reinforcing the sense of belonging.

5. Constantly Evolve and Innovate

Adaptability is the key to thriving amidst change. Continuously assess the needs and preferences of your regulars and introduce innovative offerings that cater to their evolving tastes. Embrace new technologies, offer online ordering or delivery options, and explore partnerships to keep your business at the forefront of convenience.

6. Community Engagement and Give-Back Initiatives

Demonstrate your commitment to the community by engaging in philanthropic efforts and supporting local causes. Regulars are more likely to stay loyal when they know their patronage contributes to the greater good. Participate in community events, sponsor local teams, or donate a portion of profits to local charities.

You do not always have to give away profits to achieve this. By simply having the ability for clients to donate while purchasing from you, it can show how much your business cares about the community.

7. Seek Regular Feedback and Act Upon It

Regulars are a valuable source of feedback. Encourage open communication, listen to their suggestions, and take action to implement improvements based on their input. Showing that you value their opinions fosters trust and loyalty.

If you are on Yelp, pay attention to it. Only a few people feel enough about something to find you and post about it. Chances are they are not alone.


In conclusion, the arrival of franchises in rural towns need not be a threat to the bond you share with your regulars. By embracing your local charm, curating authentic experiences, offering exceptional value, staying connected through social media, adapting to change, engaging in community initiatives, and actively seeking feedback, you can fortify the connections that make your rural business truly irreplaceable.

Remember, it is your dedication to creating meaningful experiences that will keep your regulars coming back, reaffirming that in your rural haven, there's no place like home.

Stay resilient, stay true to your roots, and build the connections with your clients that the competition never could.

-Your Fellow Rural Business Advocate.

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