Who can forget that day when the first major supermarket had opened for the first time within our local town? Whether it was an ASDA opening their doors or a Morrisons unlocking their shopping trollies on day one, this was an exciting occasion for many of us, though for many local businesses, it was a dread. Once upon a time, a day out shopping in your local town would consist of a visit to the bakery, butchers, hardware store and even a birthday card shop. Now, those days a long gone since we can acquire everything, we need just under one roof. For the elderly population, the convenience was built in the fact that some of these stores even included a Post Office, where they could withdraw their pension from.
Fortunately, all is not lost for the high street, independent retailers and local stores. Brits have a refreshing sense of loyalty instilled within and despite the fact these big brands were able to undercut many of the local businesses in terms of price, which has certainly made life difficult for them, they could not replicate the general atmosphere.
Together with LPG suppliers Flogas, we highlight why it is important to support local businesses and how doing so can help create a mutually beneficial relationship.
Have you ever bought a piece of clothing, which you’re quite happy about, thinking you look the business in your new jeans or shirt, to then realise somebody you know has bought the exact same one? It’s too late to get changed, as much as you wish you could. It is no surprise that this has occurred when there is one major retail store in your town, and that one day it throws a big sale on attracting many from your local town to it. Unlike big brands, which churn out thousands of the same generic item, a product bought locally will exist like no other. Individuality will be rife as often the owner will have used their own personal experience and skill to design it. We all hate buying presents because we are doused with fear that they already have that — not via an independent retailer.
It may sound a bit of cliché, but you cannot beat a good old honest conversation. Although major brands focus a significant emphasis on delivering quality customer service, the owner of a local business will often make it their mission to learn all their customer’s names. Major retailer’s stockpiles will often be based on general nationwide trends, as opposed to the needs and the wants of the customer. For local shops however, they will build their supplies in a way to cater for the everyday shoppers.
Good for your local economy
Supporting your local businesses, means more than just putting money in their tills, you’re also contributing towards your local economy. Research has found that 63p out of every £1 is returned into the local economy when you shop at a local business, as opposed to 40p in every £1 at a larger one. You may initially think that by going to your local pub for Sunday lunch you are only spending £30. In fact, what you are doing is creating a job opportunity, which in turn reduces unemployment and increases the overall tax contribution made.
We all need to be aware of the field-to-folk journey. Buying out of season fruit is often damaging to the environment as it has more than likely taken a 2,000-mile trip across the world in order to make its way onto the top of your pavlova. Purchasing from your local fruit shop, however, is almost guaranteed to reflect a short distance travelled. Likewise, because you are buying your food fresh, you often won’t get it wrapped up like a Christmas present, saving on unnecessary plastic.
Okay, there’s no guarantee that the local business will be cheaper than their big brand competitor. Realistically, when larger companies can employ strategies such as economies of scale and loss leaders, we aren’t going to expect a fair fist fight in terms of pricing, however, in the long run, are local businesses really suffering the effects of an uppercut from the supermarkets?
We often get drawn to impulse buy. Big bright yellow signs pointing to a two pence reduction is enough to make us fill up the shopping trolley and we end up leaving with enough Brillo Pads to see us through to the end of the next decade. Going to separate local stores, like the bakers and butchers, we are forced to shop around — although it might take us slightly longer.
No matter the price, these businesses are more likely going to offer us better quality products, whether it is food or furniture.
Back in the 80s, Four Tops had released a song based on a man going Loco, and in 2019, we’re suggesting you do the same. As opposed to simply funding another shop owner, by supporting local businesses you are helping to establish a sense of community.