The BIG benefits of shopping small...
The shift towards buying online and the dominance of big chains in recent years has threatened to put an end to many independent businesses.
However, national initiatives such as Small Business Saturday and more local schemes in communities across the UK are helping to raise awareness of the many benefits of shopping locally.
Indeed, there are plenty of reasons why it’s worth going local for your gifts and groceries – from the economy to the environment…
Research on spending by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business.
It also helps support the next generation of business. For example, local artisan markets provide a relatively inexpensive way for young entrepreneurs to test out their products and raise awareness of their ideas. Innovators such as Sir Alan Sugar, who started selling car aerials from the back of a van bought with his savings, relied heavily on the support of the local community to kick start the growth of his business during early difficulties.
Shopping at the local High Street is also a much more rewarding and satisfying experience for the customer and, as it’s usually only a short walk to the shops, you can easily avoid the stress of driving round a multi-story car park trying to find a parking space.
Spending time speaking to local business owners helps to create a sense of community, and independent businesses are generally much more receptive to customer feedback and ideas – everything from special events to new products, which in turn supports the development of the business.
And of course, independent retailers can use their discretion to reward regular custom, and it can mean you get discounts on the items you actually want to buy, rather than being tempted by multi-buy offers in the big chains. A win-win situation…
Our appreciation and understanding of the importance of local produce has increased greatly in recent years, and once again this is where small, independent producers hold a key advantage. When you shop at local butchers, bakers, farm shops and green grocers, the majority of the produce has had a short field-to-fork journey – meaning a greater nutritional value and far less impact on the environment.
Increasingly, shopping locally is once again being seen as the smart choice.
For more ideas about shopping locally, visit www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com