December 28 2020 – Sola Boutique Bantry Admin
At this time of year, there is always an increased push for people to ‘buy local’. As a local retail business, of course, I support that sentiment. In a town like Bantry that attracts so many tourists each year, all customers are valued and welcome. However, knowing that we can rely on our friends and neighbours for support is a priceless feeling.
Here in Bantry, we are blessed with a community packed full of supportive locals and visitors. Personally, I am very grateful to every one of you. Our local businesses are a smouldering hodgepodge of independent traders and artisans from all walks of life. Each of us happily welcomes the local and transient support we receive each year.
Here’s what shopping local means to small businesses.
Shopping Local Means We’re Part Of The Community
When local people shop with a small business, be it occasionally or regularly, that business feels accepted. It means that people have made an effort to find out what we do. Seeing them come through the shop door or make an order online, we know that they have actively chosen to support us. With so much competition nationally and internationally, they could easily shop elsewhere, but they don’t. That means a lot.
Keeping The Community’s Money In The Community
There is a report by ISME (the Irish SME Association) that states that 45 cents of every Euro spent is reinvested locally. Nearly 50%, that’s staggering if you think about it, especially in comparison to only 15 cents being reinvested for non-local shopping.
More money stays in the community when you shop local because local businesses use local services and suppliers.
When you order a Christmas Turkey from your local butcher, for example, there’s a positive knock-on effect for the wider community. The knock-on effect is that the butcher’s supplier is most likely local too. So, you’re not just supporting one business but two. Maybe even more.
Businesses need services to support them too. A local shop will use a local accountant, maybe a local cleaning service, post deliveries through the local post office, etc. When we shop local, we support these businesses as well.
Shopping Local Creates Jobs Locally
A successful, well supported, small business creates jobs. This happens directly and indirectly. It can be through the direct growth of that business which sees it hire more people. It can also be indirectly through a greater demand on suppliers, delivery drivers and so on.
Shopping Local Encourages Growth
When other hopeful entrepreneurs see that local businesses receive local support, it encourages them to try too. A thriving high street is a more attractive place to open a business than a quiet one. As these and existing businesses grow, they might decide to expand their offerings further. Sometimes this means opening an additional store nearby (more jobs), sometimes it means expanding the space or product line they offer.
Shopping Local Encourages Visitors
West Cork attracts millions of visitors from far and wide every year. Tourists flock to our region famed for its natural beauty and warm local welcome. Local businesses play a part in ensuring those visitor numbers stay high.
A strong business community will keep their shop fronts looking tidy and their streets clean. You only need to see Bantry’s colourful facades to understand the pride we all take in our town. The spotlessness of the square that proudly hosts our weekly market. The cleanliness of the water that flows in and out of the bay. Local traders playing their part in keeping towns looking great keeps visitors coming.
Shopping Local Keeps A Dream Alive
Every business starts with a dream. Maybe that sounds corny, but it’s true. Every trader on your high street, in your town, is wholly passionate about what they do. Everyone from the artisan baker and barber to the florist and fashion shops cares deeply about providing you with a quality service and product.
Some of the local businesses you pass every day have been run by generations of the same family. Some of them are just starting out. Building their empire one shop at a time. Maybe a shop that the next generation of their family will run in the future. Shopping local helps these families keep that dream alive.
Lastly, just let me say thank you. Your business, your support, means the world to me. It’s no small thing to be part of such a vibrant, supportive community such as Bantry. Thank you.