It’s often easier to do in theory than in practice.
We all know that ‘shopping local’ supports the local economy and keeps our money in our communities. But the draw of big retailers and the online shopping cart still manages to grab much of our hard-earned cash.
Whether it’s because of price or choice or ‘convenience’ – though you have to ask how convenient it is to drive for miles to suffer the anodyne retail experience of a shopping centre – how many of us have really nailed shopping local?
But there are very good reasons to do so.
Independent local shops create a distinctive shopping experience – much more inviting and exciting than streets-worth of franchises and multinationals. Those small shops don’t just look different, they often sell different things too – more unusual, more individual… sometimes just plain quirky. Like entering Aladdin’s cave, you’re never quite sure what you’ll find there, but there’s bound to be a few treasures.
Shopping locally helps cut carbon emissions too. Local shops can often be within walking distance, but if you do have to drive, it’s a journey of a few minutes, not a few hours. As a huge chunk of the carbon impact of our retail therapy comes from driving to the shops, that makes a difference.
And shopping locally creates jobs and recycles money in our local communities. For every £10 spent in a local independent shop – that’s a business with just one or two retail outlets – on average £25 is generated for the local economy, compared with £14 when that same tenner is spent in a retail chain.
But we all know this already and, be honest, do you do it? I know a few people who only ever shop local and independent. But only a few.
But there is a way we can help our local shops without giving up our supermarket fix.
If every household in Annandale and Eskdale got into the habit of spending just £5 a week of the money they normally spend with the ‘big’ retailers in their local independent shops and businesses, that would be almost £80,000 extra invested in our local economy every single week. That’s around £4 million investment every year directly into our local shops, generating a multiplier effect of £10 million for our local economy. No government programme, no fix from Europe, nothing could give the adrenaline shot to our local economy that that could deliver week in, week out.
It’s partly to encourage you to think, act and spend local that we’ve started the Discover Moffat website. Even if all we persuade you to do is get into the habit of redirecting a fiver every week towards all things local, you’ll be making a big difference.
But to be honest, once you start spending with the amazing shops and businesses we have here, you’d be hard pressed to stick to just a fiver a week!
Go on – what are you waiting for? Try out a little retail therapy with a big impact!