Remember the opening of the first super fandango all-encompassing supermarket? It seems like a lifetime ago. Whether it was Tesco opening their doors or Asda unlocking their shopping trollies on day one, this was a significant occasion — it spelt the demise of many local businesses. Previously, a day out shopping in your local town could have resulted in you visiting the bakery, the birthday card shop, the butchers, the hardware store, and the local convenience store. Now, however, this mind-blowing concept had everything under one roof. For elderly people, the convenience was built in the fact some of these stores even included a Post Office, where they could withdraw their pension.
All was not lost for the high street, though. The local stores, and their owners who we had become so accustomed to throughout our lives. 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. Here with Flogas, who provide propane gas cylinders, look at why it is most important to support local businesses and how doing so can create a mutually beneficial relationship.
We’ve all suffered the embarrassment of strolling into work on a Monday morning, rocking the new shirt you’ve bought, thinking you look a million dollars — which you probably do — only to realise your colleague bought exactly the same one? It’s too late to go home and get changed by this stage, but you’re still considering it. 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 doused with fear that they already have that — not via an independent retailer.
One thing we should all be more aware of, is journey time. 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.
A good conversation
Even though this sounds like a cliché, 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.
Through supporting local businesses, you are doing more than just putting money into their till — you 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 and increases the overall tax contribution made.
To be clear, this is not to 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 all 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 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.
Putting aside the price, we must understand that these businesses are also more likely to offer us a quality product, whether it be food or furniture.
Taking it back to 1998, the Four Tops sang of a man going Loco and in 2019, we’re suggesting you do the very same thing. As opposed to simply funding another shop owner, by supporting local businesses you are helping to establish a sense of community.