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There are no atheists in a foxhole, but is there brand loyalty in a recession?  In our household, the answer is…nope.  I’ve been noticing this past year the slow emergence of generic groceries cropping up in our cabinets.  Generics?  Dear Lord, the last time I was subjected to generic groceries was growing up with my frugal parents.  Instead of Fruit Loops, we got those Fruity O’s…you know the similarly colored, fruit-flavored cereal that comes in a bag.  Yum.  But my wife insists that times have changed and store-label food products are just as good.  So instead of Irish Spring, we now use Up And Up (Target’s generic brand of green soap).  It’s not bad.  Instead of NyQuil, another Target brand (we love Target).  Instead of Cinnamon Toast Crunch…we continue to get Cinnamon Toast Crunch (you don’t skimp on the important things).  But our household isn’t alone.  It appears that in 2009 there was a surge of generic and store label brands in grocery stores.

But besides my Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I did notice that our household isn’t going generic on clothing…specifically my wife’s boots and jeans.  And she is making the point to go to her favorite small business boutique to get these items (Garbarini, just in case you’re looking to do some shopping in Denver).  When I asked why, the reason she said 1)  because Garbarini has a much better selection than the department stores; and 2) she wants to make sure her favorites stores survive the Recession.

So this Recession may be an opportunity for small and online businesses for a couple of reasons.  First, shoppers are obviously looking to save money and don’t really care where they buy their Sony Bravia — obviously an advantage for online sellers with no overhead cost.  However, there may also be some brand loyalty to stores and business that specialize on certain product lines and/or customer service.



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