As the perfect contrast to the brawl-filled “Black Friday” last week, yesterday a grass-roots campaign encouraged everyone to shop locally and support small businesses in their area. Every year, the first Saturday of December has been dubbed “Small Business Saturday” as a bid to promote the estimated 5.2 million local businesses around the country.
So, why should we choose to spend our money at these local businesses rather than at big brand chain stores? In short, by buying our fruit and veg from the greengrocers, our meat from the butchers, and our bread from the bakers we can boost the local economy, lower our carbon foot-print and even create more jobs.
Research has found that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business around 63p stayed in the local economy compared to 40p with a larger business. This is because the owners of small businesses reinvest their profits into community such as using local contractors for builds and repairs and using produce from local farms. It is also because the owners actually live and spend their own money within the community unlike those of multinational corporations.
Studies have also found that places that have high streets with thriving independent businesses have house prices that are 17% higher than comparable areas with proportionally fewer independent traders. Not to mention that small local businesses are also the largest employer nationally. This means that in our communities they provide the most jobs to residents; by shopping with them you are encouraging creation of jobs for people in your community.
The benefits get even better when you consider environmental impacts. By buying local produce you are getting products that take a shorter journey to get to you; in other words it takes less fuel to go from the farm down the road than from another country. Also, local businesses are more likely to use local products themselves instead of spending money on the costly transportation of goods. Buy local – save the environment.
So, why not? Shop local this Christmas!