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Local businesses offer something big box businesses like Amazon can't: A personalized experience

Amazon Prime Day brought in over $10.6 billion dollars last year, but local businesses say it's not a competition against Amazon for them

MOLINE, Ill. — Local businesses have spent the past year expanding their online platforms, offering more options and ways for their customers to reach them. Giant shopping days like Amazon Prime Day raked in over $10.6 billion dollars in sales last year over 48 hours alone.

It’s something you would think small businesses think of as a competition, but local business Lillie and Pine says it isn’t necessarily a competition, but an entirely different experience. Owner Katy Miller says for her small business it’s all about personalizing the experience for her customers. “I know when I step into a small business, I’m a VIP all of a sudden.”

She says its their way of keeping up with big box stores like Amazon. “We don’t compete but what we do provide is a level of service and charm. You can feel our gratitude.”

It may not be a competition for Miller, but if it were, it’d be a tight race. Lillie and Pine can compete with Amazons shipping guarantees. Miller says every order placed before one p.m. during the weekdays will most often have same day shipping, with guaranteed shipping by the following day. 

Miller saying, “When you shop locally with us, we beat Amazons shipping turn around time. We are neck and neck for the most part with Amazons turn around.”

Lillie and Pine sells their products out of The Market in Moline. It’s a space curated for boutiques from the area. Shoppers can experience all different kinds of small businesses in one space. 

Market owner and curator Katie Thompson says she never wanted to offer online shopping, but when the pandemic hit there wasn’t much of an option. “At the point of the shut down we did not have an online sales platform. It was something I honestly did not want to do.”

She says she knew it was what needed to be done. So, the different boutiques set up tables and The Market got up a website for selling products in 48 hours. 

Miller says it not only saved them, but it saved their customers as well saying, “It saved us but I think it also saved our customers because at a time when our customers really wanted to connect with their friends we were there to connect and ship their gifts across the country with notes.”