For a long time I’ve been a strong believer in supporting the local businesses and shops that serve our communities. As a family, we run our own company so I know what it’s like to be involved directly in the community but also what it is like to face competition from other companies local or otherwise that can try to undercut you.
In reality I’ve always found it easy to stop at the shops far more often than I need to. I stop in on the way home to pick up the odd thing I need, and usually end up with a few things I don’t need too. I have Asda, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl all within a few of minutes of my house and Tesco near work. It’s far too easy to shop and to rely on the convenience of popping into the supermarket! Of course lockdown and the food shortages changed that and so lately I have been shopping a lot more consciously and more locally. I’m more careful with dates and have been consistently shopping once a week. It’s nice not to fall into the habit of doing it more often. I have a farm shop close by which is great for getting my fruit, veg and milk, especially when I need extra in the week. It saves me so much time and it’s nice to make things last. I don’t feel so wasteful and I also feel like I’m helping community shops by supporting them.
The thing is, that if we all shop locally, the money we spend goes back into the local economy. It stays around us and benefits other local families, whether it’s the business owner or the workers who are employed there. In times like these it’s good to think we’re supporting each other.
Our economy is going to take a bit of a beating, not only with coronavirus, and all it’s repercussions, but also Brexit and whatever pans out from that. It’s a tricky old time, so it feels good to support other local people. It can be hard though, and a lot of people assume bigger companies or those online can offer better prices. I suppose sometimes, it is true, especially when they can produce or buy in bulk quantities. In this instance what is forgotten is the different service you get from an individual company. It matters more in general as small business owners get out of their businesses the effort and the time they put in. It’s their livelihoods and a longterm thing, rather than just working to bring home a paycheque.
We bought a Barn a new bike this week as it’s his 15th birthday next week. We could probably have gone to a chain store, but we’ve had problems in the past (maybe it’s just our branch). Our local shop is owned by a cycling and running enthusiast and I feel looked after by someone who knows what they are talking about. Despite the fact that there seems to be bit of a bike shortage at the moment, we came away happy with a good quality bike that is strong and sturdy enough to last Barn very well. I asked questions, wasn’t rushed and I know that if Barn has any problems, both he and his bike will be looked after, which makes me feel good. I also know that sale means more to a small company than it does to a larger one.
In our industry, it’s difficult when you put time into a customer only to find they go elsewhere. It’s understandable that not every job will come to something in our profession but it’s hard when you have clients to juggle, to be told that one customer won’t be going ahead, only to find they have gone elsewhere. Especially when in hindsight you could have used the time better elsewhere. It’s a little frustrating, but, our business is going well. It looks like we will come out the other side of this crisis and we have kept all of our staff, except for one who relocated due to a change in personal circumstances after lockdown, which is completely fair enough. Many other companies unfortunately aren’t in such a good place, and I count us lucky. We all work hard, and I hope it will pay off.
For some, things change. We’re lucky to have the team we have. We’re strong, we’re growing. It’s an exciting time, and I have to say, I like being part of a local business that’s part of the community.
Thank you as always for reading.