I visit our local Chinese takeaway most Friday's on the way home to collect collect a meal for myself & Caroline. It's something we've done for the last three years or so, ever since our daughter was born. We don't go out so much any more....
On Friday, while I was collecting our unremarkable order of mixed hors d'oeuvres and chicken & cashew nuts in yellow-bean sauce, I was presented with a gift wrapped box of chocolates and a Christmas card to 'Mr Jay & Family'. It was an unexpected reward for my custom over the last year and it made me feel good.
It probably didn't cost the Golden Willow much to target a subset of loyal customers, just abit of thought and effort. But it's the 'human ingredient' that a local small business can create with ease and it underlines a sense of community.
What a challenge for any online businesses to replicate!
If small businesses ever find a way of combining this magic with their website...supermarket chains will crumble.