Independent retailer and businesswoman Rachel Parkin on independent retailers and the high street...
The Great British High Street, and British business are hot topics of conversation at the moment, both for national and local media.
There’s a resurgence in interest in the high street with towns up and down the country getting involved in Shop Local or Buy Local campaigns.
If you’re wondering what this has to do with you and why you should care where you buy your meat or the latest fashion T-shirt then read on...
It’s less an issue about shopping and more about community, that’s what’s at the heart of the ‘high street’ debate.
Local shops owned by local people keep money circulating in the local economy. For instance, the highly respected Federation of Small Businesses recently ran some research on the value of a £1 spent locally, ie at an indie retailer – the results were brutal.
Researchers discovered that for every £1 spent locally around 50p – 70p of that money re-circulated back into the local economy up to three or four times. For the same £1 spent out of town, with multiples or online only 5p trickled back to the local community.
Money circulating in the local economy spreads out like the ripple effect when you throw a stone into a pond… it means more local jobs and stronger local economies and communities.
Strong local communities are a key factor in ‘the happiness index’ ie how happy people rate themselves when questioned.
Shocking figures like the 50-50p recirculation rate reiterate the point that when we shop locally we are genuinely having a positive impact on our community!
Other factors to consider are the local flavour that independent businesses bring to your city.
How dull would life be if every high street was a homogenised replica of every other – there is a term for this - ‘clone town’ and its used disparagingly… it’s not a model that’s considered to be sustainable.
Local businesses bring flavour and choice to the high street. Take a second to imagine how interesting your shopping experience would be without a local butcher, florist, boutique or sandwich shop?
As a city, supporting local entrepreneurial flair makes sense both in the city centre and in local communities across the city.
If you have a choice, please shop local - You can make a huge difference