Some Omaha metro businesses successfully compete against Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime Day is upon us. Local businesses urge you to keep your dollars close to home.
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 10:24 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Amazon Prime Day returns this year, but local businesses urge you to keep your dollars close to home.

Some of them bounced back better than others since the pandemic.

Kim Ahler’s boutique in Papillion is one of them.

“As we went through COVID and people really reached out to online sales, even more, they quickly realized you don’t always get what you buy or when you try it on it doesn’t always fit,” she said.

She opened her boutique 16 years ago and says that in addition to maintaining her loyal customers, she sees at least six new faces a day. Some people spend up to two hours browsing.

“People are really turning back to supporting local, coming in, trying on. It’s just really important in the fashion industry to be able to have that connection.”

And it’s not just about the touch and feel of things when you shop locally. Kim Ahlers says there are other benefits as well.

“It’s not as overwhelming. You get one on one customer service. And we can really help you find that special thing you’re looking for,” she said.

Dawn Kottas is a long-time customer and has been going to Kajoma’s Boutique for over 10 years. She appreciates the customer service.

“They will go to the racks and find something that they know will look good on me and will fit me. They just know my taste and style,” said Kottas.

She said that most of her closet is from Kim’s boutique and she picks shopping there over Amazon every time.

“I would definitely come here first just for the quality than I would ever buy a dress online,” she said.

It’s not just clothing stores that benefit from that quality customer service. That’s also part of David Mangelsen’s successful business model.

His arts and crafts store has been family and locally owned since 1961.

“We have great people who know what they’re doing to be able to guide a customer in what they need. You’re not going to get that on Amazon or any of those other mail order places,” said Mangelsen.

David also says he makes it a point to greet customers himself and he personally walks them to what they need in the store.

His advice to someone considering opening their own local business: “Make sure that they do their homework, in all aspects of running a business.”

That includes making sure the store fills a niche in the community, he says.

Both Kajoma’s Boutique and Mangelen’s survived and thrived through a recession and pandemic.

And they say, that’s only with the help of their customers’ support.

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