Jo Johnson from Love Your Doorstep urges people to shop local all year round
At Love Your Doorstep we’re celebrating our seventh year of supporting local businesses.
Not long after the community forum was set up as a Facebook group, following the 2011 riots in Enfield, it was clear that people were finding it a useful arena to recommend local businesses. The platform helped promote small firms, especially those without a website or physical premises.
One of the aims has been for people to have the opportunity to get to know the person behind each business – all 750 of them, including charities, community groups, and schools. Sadly, we are seeing a major challenge to existing high street businesses: online shopping.
According to a recent report from the accountancy firm PwC, 14 shops are closing every day, nationwide. This amounts to 2,692 shops shutting in the first half of 2018, with London seeing the largest number of shop closures in the UK. But where fashion stores, electrical shops, and Italian restaurant chains, have seen the biggest closures; supermarkets, booksellers, ice cream parlours and coffee shops are growing.
Clearly there is pressure on our high street retailers, but there is also something we can do to save our shops. The first Saturday in December is an important date that we like to support annually; on ‘Small Business Saturday’ people are urged to make a conscious effort to support local businesses. But Love Your Doorstep also aims to promote this ethos all year round and create a ‘shop local’ habit among our community. So here’s three good reasons to shop local.
First; a unique shopping experience. Shopping with a local business is a really special experience, normally fuelled with extra passion and care. You are able to build a relationship with the people behind the business, whether it is communicating face-to-face or through their online presence. The personal touch helps to create repeat customers.
Second; it strengthens the local economy. When you choose to spend your money locally you are choosing to invest in the economy of your community. This is also helped by local businesses choosing to use local suppliers of products and services, along with being able to offer employment opportunities.
Last but not least; it makes high streets more attractive. To prevent the decline of the high street we need to support independent businesses because they don’t have the same advantages as the big chains. However, we also need to visit chain shops; both have a place on our high street and they need to exist side by side. No-one wants to see vacant shops creating an eyesore on our doorstep.