I prefer to support the LFS, where possible, but many just don't have a good high end equipment selection. I don't blame them. That's a lot of money tied up in inventory.
100% agree. Not just illiquid capital lost to the inventory, but also it's inventory that they might sell one item of, a year. It would be like your local computer build/repair shop keeping $10k gaming rigs on the shelf.
I feel a responsibility to point the following out, though. Supporting your LFS (or any LXS for that matter, where X could be gaming, computer, tobacco, food, hardware, etc), costs you money. If it didn't cost more, it wouldn't be "supporting" them, you'd just be bargain/price shopping. No LFS can compete with online prices, online convenience, big corporations. It just won't happen. Point being, if you feel a need or desire to "support your LFS" (or your local community shop of any type), there is still a way.
Go in to the LFS. Show them a pic of the Lily Pipe (or w/e rare, expensive item) you want. Ask them to order it. Show back up when it arrives. Buy it, paying the markup, to help the LFS.
Just because insert-random-LFS-here doesn't have an item, doesn't mean they can't find it.
-- 2.5 Gallon mini bowfront with a field of crypt wendtii, some java fern, java moss, 8 RCS, and several species of snails.
-- 55 Gallon long with Green Rotala, Crypt Wendtii, Red Ludwigia, Blyxa Japonica, Bacopa Carolinia, Banana Plant, Dwarf Sag, and an Amazon Sword. 2 Bolivian rams, 2 German Golden longfin rams, 2 German Blue Longfin Rams, 17 Rummies, 7 Neons, and a lonely Amano.