Article by Flogas, a supplier of gas for business use.
It’s a phrase that is often discussed, but just why should we ‘support local businesses’?
Helping the local economy
When we support our local businesses, we are doing more than just putting money into their till — we are boosting the 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 in your area and increases the overall tax contribution made.
Unique customer service
It may sound like somewhat of a cliché, but you cannot beat a good 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.
The field-to-fork journey time is something we all need to be aware of. 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 have originated from somewhere a bit closer to home. Likewise, because you are buying your food fresh, you often won’t get it wrapped up like a Christmas present, saving on unnecessary plastic.
The personal touch
Have you ever strolled into work on a Monday morning, rocking the new shirt you’ve bought, thinking you look a million dollars, only to realise your colleague bought exactly the same one!? It is no surprise that this has occurred when there is one major retail store in your town, and you had spent the previous Friday afternoon discussing the impending sale. 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 worried the recipient will already have it — not anymore.
Okay, so we won’t try and suggest that local businesses are going to be cheaper than their big brand competitors. 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 visit the supermarket and foolishly 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 refuse sacks to see us through the next thirty years. Going to separate local stores, like the bakers and butchers, we are forced to shop around — although it might take us slightly longer.
Regardless of the price, we must understand that these businesses are also more likely to offer us a quality product, whether it be food or furniture.
As opposed to simply funding another shop owner, by supporting local businesses you are helping to establish a sense of community.