Ran across this interesting piece via Topix that was produced by the local ABC7 affiliate here in the Bay Area. The story uncovers a nervousness among local SMBs that the Internet is increasingly having an impact on their business outlook.
I have watched this firsthand since I live in San Anselmo, and it is clear that business owners are skittish. One of the SMBs profiled in the piece offers high-end flowers and would seem to be more insulated from being disintermediated by Internet models — but its owners too are nervous. Years ago there was an expectation that Main Street USA was doomed by the onslaught of the big-box retailers.
Now it’s the Internet that is threatening to doom Main Street. SMBs will have to continue to figure out how they can offer products and services that combined are differentiated on the basis of service, features or price.