This is my favourite part of our town centre. A street of pretty units with independent businesses to shop locally. There are shops, services, a brewery and a second-hand furniture dealer. These are the types of business I would like to see thrive and expand further into the town, small businesses that offer something different to the chain stores.
Often I hear people say they don’t shop in our town because “there isn’t much there”. That argument should be turned around to state “there isn’t much there because you don’t shop locally in town”.
The “It just takes £5” campaign on the Totally Locally site got me thinking. Our town has a population of just over 33,000 and to follow the example given, if 10,000 of those people spend just £5 per week with an independent business that they wouldn’t have previously used, over the course of the year that would mean an additional £2.6 million pounds would be spent.
It’s not even that difficult – buy a sandwich or a loaf of bread from the local bakers, get your meat from the butcher, buy from the vegetable stall or buy a book that you have been wanting to read.
Just think of the difference it would make to the local economy. Fewer businesses would fail, more local jobs would be created and as consumers we would have more choice and get to know the people serving us.
Sadly, a walk down this street today showed that the local deli store that opened last summer is closing down. With low footfall passing it is such a challenge for businesses like this to keep going but we miss them when they are gone.
To stop these signs continuing to pop up, get out into your town and give them some support.
Here in Letchworth Garden City we are lucky to have enthusiastic people on our Town Centre Management Team creating exciting events for young and old so there really is no excuse. You can shop and be entertained too on many weekends.
A few more eating establishments are opening up which I think can only be a good thing. It is such a treat to walk into town and have choice of where to go and what to eat. I am sure that diners visiting during the day will also use the shops.
One of my resolutions for this year is to use local businesses as much as I can. I want to see how much of our weekly food can be bought from them. It will be interesting to track the costs too to see if I spend more overall.
Reasons to shop locally in your town:
- It supports the local economy and more money stays in the town.
- Independent retailers avoid the identikit feel of many towns.
- Small, thriving businesses create more jobs.
- More choice as you can find quirky and original items.
- It is a friendly experience as with time you get to know the traders.
- Better customer service from people you know.
- It is a more ethical choice. Food such as vegetables are often from local farms reducing the miles involved from field to fork. There isn’t the high levels of packaging and transport involved with on-line purchases.
- More new businesses will start up.
- You can walk and get a bit of exercise along the way!