So you've heard it's a good idea to shop local, but why exactly? Why should you shun the big multinationals? Here are 9 important reasons why you should shop local and support your local independent businesses across South London.
1. It supports and sustains the local economy.
Small businesses make up a huge majority of our local economy. Research shows that 63p of every pound spent in local small to medium sized businesses stays within the local economy, compared with a mere 40p for larger businesses. Small local businesses tend to source produce from other small local businesses. They employ locals who will then go on to spend their wage locally too. And with more local employment, this will contribute to more people paying their local council tax which is spent on public goods and services such as improving the local environment. Therefore, by making the decision to spend your hard earned pound in small independent businesses, you can have a much larger direct impact on everything from local employment to your environment.
2. It creates jobs.
Local businesses provide local employment, self-employment, and promote entrepreneurship. The more successful local businesses we have, the more staff they are willing to take on. More often than not they are young people who are being given their first opportunity to experience valuable life skills and a leg up into the working world. With more local employment, this creates more demand for new local businesses to serve these new local workers. This could potentially restore some of our boarded up businesses to their former glory.
3. It helps to build communities.
It’s clear from the second you step foot onto a bustling high street packed with independent, small businesses that there is something different in the air. The street comes alive. You don’t quite know where to look as your eyes are pulled in different directions by a variety of unique and colourful shops. Forest Hill is a perfect example of how an area packed with independent shops can create and sustain a community atmosphere. From the local butcher, to the local pub, to a traditional sweet shop, Forest Hill has become a social and vibrant place that showcases its culture and history. Local business owners also tend to support each other’s business ventures, and this can lead to collaboration through community events, market days, or even small festivals.
4. It saves you money.
Out of town stores and supermarkets have done a good job of convincing people that shopping locally is expensive. However, take in to account travel expenditure to get to the bigger shopping centres up town or online transfer fees and delivery when buying online, the costs are often the same or much higher. Local shops being expensive is a myth. Although supermarkets can come across far cheaper due to the onslaught of deals, discounts and promotions that they put on their products, they hide the next to nothing costs they have due to the pricing power they command over their agricultural suppliers. Local businesses source high quality produce and pay fair prices for it. They then sell it at a fair price to their customers. When you shop locally, you get much more value for your money. Not to mention you can now save even more with your own South London Club Card
5. Local shops provide a variety of high quality products.
Whether its a unique type of rye bread used for sandwiches, or a ceramic vase from South America, local businesses often host an array of unique products. Unlike big chain stores, they change their products regularly and keep customers intrigued, creating a more interesting and less mundane shopping experience.
6. Local businesses value you more.
Local businesses are known for their excellent rapport with their local customers. They understand they need to provide a brilliant consistent service because they survive on repeat custom and word of mouth. They are friendly and approachable, and often prolific in providing for their customers needs. Many local business owners will go out of their way to order something in to their shop if they do not stock it, and will be happy to listen to their customers and offer honest advice on any of their goods or services.
7. Local businesses source goods locally.
Many local businesses make it a priority to source some or all of their goods locally. This approach has ample benefits. Firstly, local goods are more reliable, they don’t have to go through long car journeys up and down the country or overseas, which reduces the chance of the produce going bad and makes certain it will be fresh and ready when it gets to the store. Secondly, it is good for the environment. By not travelling far and wide to source their goods, which requires a lot of energy, local businesses reduce their carbon footprint when they source locally. Lastly, it adds to the community ethic of local businesses with everyone supporting each other.
8. It provides for a better shopping experience.
Everyone can agree that shopping in Tescos or Sainsbury’s is hardly the most thrilling or memorable experience. Trawling over packaged fruit, packaged vegetables, frozen everything, and bloated meat crammed into a tiny plastic box wrapped in cling film doesn’t really get people's mouths watering. Local businesses are often presented much more attractively and are more authentic, from their layout and decor, to the friendliness of their staff and of course their food and products. Walking into a genuine Italian Delicatessen such as Gennaro's can almost transport you to a little Italian village in the countryside. Likewise, entering a quaint and beautifully decorated coffee shop, bar or pub can literally change how you feel in a second and makes for a better, more comfortable shopping experience.
9. They pay their taxes.
And finally, small independent businesses pay their fair share of taxes. Unlike the coffee shops on most corners of London’s streets that siphon off 5-10% of their revenue in the form of ‘branding rights’ to their offshore company headquarters in a low tax haven to avoid tax on profits made in the UK....They pay up. They support the communities they serve. And they are proud to be a part of them.
I hope this article has gone a long way to convince you why it is important to support our local businesses. We've created a local discount card initiative to make it even easier for you to support your local businesses whilst saving you money. Win-win. You can join the South London Club and save up to 50% off your bill here