“Use them or lose them” – This can apply more to your bricks and mortar high street shops, but the sentiment can be true for all local businesses that get most of their trade locally.
What’s happening locally?
You only have to look around most local towns to notice streets, once occupied with a flourishing, prosperous, bohemian-like mix of independent newsagents, butchers, bakers, pubs, greengrocers, farm-shops, bookshops, delicatessens and family-run stores are now filled with mini-supermarkets from large retailers, fast-food chains, mobile phone shops, national retail chains and fashion outlets……. and many empty retail spaces.
Not only does this have an affect of making your place a “clone-town” it means money spent in National businesses leaves your local economy. According to NEF (New Economics Foundation), every £pound spent with a local supplier is worth significantly more to the local economy; research shows that £1 spent in a local independent shop means up to an extra £5 goes back into the local economy. This is because the shop owners who you spend your money with, will spend more with their local pub, restaurant and trades-persons, keeping more money circulating in your community.
Where you spend involves a choice about the kind of future you want to have. That may sound over-dramatic, but here at Just.coop we believe we should care about our spending choices when it comes to our neighbourhood and the local economy. Money spent locally supports an interconnected network which results in healthy, resilient and sustainable communities. Perhaps you can concentrate too much on market efficiency, profit and £pound value for money… at the detriment of quality community life.
Why should you buy local? Here are some reasons:
- creates local supply and service chains, which means can mean more local businesses and more jobs
- there may be numerous immediate health benefits. You’re more likely to get the local farmers chemical free fruits and vegetables, fresh eggs and diary and grass-fed meats
- makes for a more vibrant, prosperous community, as more money is re-invested locally
- it means you can create a community connection with the business owner as well as enjoying meeting and building relationships with your neighbours during shopping encounters
- it gives a community its own unique personality as opposed to being a clone town dominated by the same looking chain stores.
- usually means a more personal, better customer service direct from the business owner themselves. The owners also tend to have more expertise in their trade
- can create a healthy environment as local businesses have a shorter supply chain, reducing carbon footprint. They also tend to be in walking distance, so you could reduce traffic and pollution
- online and national isn’t always best. You may be surprised at better deals you can get locally from anything ranging from double glazing to confectionery.
- supporting local businesses can create a town’s identity and attract tourists and trade due to their unique and vibrant differences
- small businesses give back to the community they serve… especially just.coop ones! Look out for them in your Local Business Directory
What can you do?
- Shop locally, search our Directory
- If they are not doing it already, tell your local council they could lay on a free bus service to the shops or allocate more free parking in the town
- Use this website to connect locally
- Use our Voucher and Just Shop Local Scheme to show local support and help local good causes as well
So let’s USE them or LOSE them!