Picture this: You’ve just found the display case of your dreams for your retail floor. It’s perfect, but a little more than you had hoped to spend. You really want to go for it, so you order it, along with some grid wall and racks. It won’t be more than 10 percent over your budget. But alas, the total bill – cha–ching — nearly makes you fall out of your chair! Oops. You forgot about the shipping charges. They put you well beyond that 10 percent overage.

If you’ve ever experienced this scenario or something similar, you’re not alone. While you want to get the best fixtures you can afford, you don’t want to sink a huge portion of your budget into shipping charges. The solution: Buy local. It has several advantages, not the least of which is reasonable shipping and delivery costs. If you are outside of the company’s delivery area, the fees are still usually less than shipping from an out of town warehouse. In addition, you can usually have your fixtures in-store within the week because of local inventory and prompt delivery. You save both time and money by shopping locally. Finally, if there are any issues, you can resolve them more easily, either face-to-face or by phone with a local merchant. Local businesses are usually more personable and more concerned with customer service than giant warehouses. The local business owner knows the best source of new business is word-of-mouth or a referral, so he will go the extra mile to keep his reputation untarnished.

If you must ship something, choose your carrier wisely. Don’t place unrealistic demands on the delivery time, but, rather, plan for when you really need your fixtures and allow plenty of time for shipping at a reasonable cost. But shipper, beware! Buying local could eliminate any headaches you may have.