Have you noticed lately that businesses are teaming up to lower costs?
If you’ve driven interstates, you’ve probably taken breaks at truck stops that combine gas stations, convenience stores, and fast-food restaurants. Highly visible, their diversity serves tired travelers who want to find only one exit — and parking spot.
Other restaurants also have joined forces. For a while, I could sky my cholesterol at either a building’s fried chicken half or taco section.
Recently, though, that trend has waned. Perhaps, employees were exchanging secret recipes. Or maybe, desiring job security, they started to mug customers, dragging them to their side.
Businesses offering contrasting services seem to post success rates. Scorning the logic of bookstore-coffee shop and doctor’s office-pharmacy combinations, they often appear in small towns. I’ve patronized a computer-tractor sales store, which New Yorkers might find … unusual. Also, a car repair garage that sold used furniture. I’ve drunk lattes brewed at a hardware store.
Occasionally, even we small-town types blink at business combos. Hubby, wanting his coat cleaned, found himself staring at a store window’s sandy beach scene. The tanning salon also served as a dry cleaner’s drop-off.
When my mother visited our small town, I had to explain why I’d driven her to the laundromat to buy a Greyhound ticket.
Having pastored in an isolated Oregon town (population 37), Mom shouldn’t have found that strange. The solitary business there served as combination restaurant, bar, gas station, post office and bank. My parents probably were the only missionaries their supporters knew who cashed checks at the Dry Gulch Saloon.
Our son and his family have followed a similar unique path, attending Sunday morning services where a boxing club, GED classes, pickleball courts and a girls’ Roller Derby team are housed. I never before had praised God in sight of a boxing ring, but Jesus, with His grassroots approach, might not have found that odd.
I wonder why certain combination stores haven’t yet appeared. Take, for example, a car repair garage-nail salon. Supplied with massage chairs and earphones to soften clanky garage noises, female customers would never ask, “Is my car ready yet?”
Instead, they’d pay for an engine rebuild. (Anything to avoid fixing supper.)
A combination electronics store-spa would please both genders. With men free to stare at screens and evaluate gadgets and women free to relax without doing either, store owners would make big profits.
Some parents suggest a combination birthday palace-psychological clinic, with discount therapy coupons for moms and dads.
However, we don’t want to see some business combinations, such as a tax accountant-bond service outfit. A fast-food-bait store. An airport with its own funeral home.
Saving money on overhead is great. I’m all about cooperation and mutual support.
Sometimes, though, wouldn’t going it alone be better?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What odd business combinations have you seen?