Why You Should Support Local Business
Online shopping has never been more convenient or popular, and while it can be good for a bargain, there are times when nothing beats a local shopping experience, especially when you’re in need of a retail therapy hit. This may go some way in explaining why in recent years there has been a significant movement towards shopping local.
Small and medium-sized (SME) businesses (who employ between 1 and 249 people) represent 99% of all businesses in Northern Ireland, with just 65 companies who employ more than 250 employees. Companies such as Unreal Weddings act as your one-stop local supplier when you are getting married – they use the best of everything local without you having to sit between 10 or 20 suppliers and try and co-ordinate everything. They use their knowledge of the local markets, no matter what part of Northern Ireland you choose to get married in, they have a selection of local suppliers that would love to help you on your special day.
The SME businesses here account for over 75% of private-sector sales, and 76% of private sector employment. When you think of it that way, it’s obvious why we need to support local entrepreneurs.
However, if that isn’t enough to convince you, here are seven more reasons you should support local businesses:
High Quality Produce
Small, local businesses often rely on word-of-mouth, and their success is dependent on your satisfaction. You can expect high quality products and workmanship, and when it comes to food – you know you’re getting quality produce when you source it from local suppliers actively involved in the process.
Help the Local Economy
When you buy local, significantly more of your money stays within your local community. Researchers in America found that for every $100 spent at a local business, on average $68 stays in the town or city. This reduces to $43 for every $100 spent at a chain retailer, and even less when shoppers buy online instead. These figures are reflected in the UK and Ireland, so it pays to shop local.
Buying local products and services means that you get to know the people behind the business, and this is something we’re beginning to appreciate more and more in today’s digital age. When a local business succeeds, you may feel a sense of pride, and when one is forced to close, you may feel the loss, and even feel guilty for not visiting it more often when it was open.
Not only do local businesses typically offer better customer service than large corporate organisations, but you’re also more likely to get a personal touch. From personalised recommendations based on the items you buy most often, to discounts and special offers for being a loyal customer, local stores need your business, and will look after you to make sure you come back.
Support Local Employment
When you shop at, and invest in, your local community, you are helping to create more jobs in the area for local people. This, in turn, provides local people with more disposable income, which they can also invest in the local area, improving the economy, and adding to the cyclical nature of improvements in your town or city.
Build A Vibrant High Street
When businesses begin to fail in the local community, shops are left vacant, and areas can become run-down. By supporting local businesses, you are helping to create a vibrant and diverse high street, with a varied shopping experience, that can help to attract shoppers from out-of-town too.
Researchers have found that non-profit organisations such as charities and community groups receive on average 250% more support from small businesses than large ones. This is largely due to small business owners being from the local area, and want to give back to their community, and because there is so much more red-tape and Policy in large organisations that can prevent them from giving support to local causes.
Small and independent businesses keep our towns and cities diverse and vibrant, and they are at the heart of our local communities. It’s important now, more than ever, that we get behind them and show our support.