In today’s world it seems like everyone is moving at a hundred miles per hour. It quite often feels like we have little time to do anything; everything has to be ready at our disposal instantly, with as little inconvenience and cost as possible.
As a result of this our shops and service providers are having to quickly adjust to this new way of doing things. Now it seems that low costs for high volumes of mass-produced items has taken over good quality, sustainable products. As such we are seeing more discount stores, bargain basements and pound shops surfacing in our high streets, leaving local businesses struggling to compete.
I’m a small business owner and since setting up my business I’ve become more aware of the importance of supporting small businesses and buying whatever I can locally. I don’t think I ever fully realised the impact that large chain and discount stores had on our local economy until I started to sell my own products.
I remember a time when the high streets in several of the towns in Gwynedd had many interesting shops, but over the years many have been closed down and replaced by yet another chain.
Now more than ever small businesses need our support; as the number of giant stores and supermarket chains grows, the harder it’ll be for local and small businesses to cope. But there are ways we can help our small businesses; it’s quite simple and even making small changes will help.
If every adult over the age of 16 in Gwynedd were to spend just £5 a week in a local business instead of a supermarket or multinational chain store, it would add £26 million a year to the local economy.
I now try to buy local as much as I can. I feel it’s important as I, like many others, want to see our economy thrive, and most of all I want to see our small businesses remain open.
There are small ways we can all help:
- Buying our meat and fish from locally-run butchers and fishmongers
- Buying fruit and vegetables from greengrocers
- Buying our wine from wine merchants or local vineyards
- Even going to an off-licence instead of a supermarket can make a difference.
It really never did hit home before how important these changes could be for our economy. Choosing to buy our meat and fish and vegetables from local sources has several benefits:
- You know the meat and veg you are buying is locally sourced, meaning it’s better quality and the farmers are being paid a higher price for their produce
- Buying your food from locally-run businesses means fewer food miles, which is better for our environment
- Buying from small businesses and shops means that you are supporting a service that treats its staff fairly and doesn’t exploit them like some of the larger chains might.
- Buying meat, especially from local sustainable sources, means that you know your meat is of a good quality and the animals were properly looked after and treated better. Quite often the meat we buy from supermarkets is from overseas and factory farmed, meaning the animals were not treated well.
Even shopping online can be a way of helping our small businesses, as many shops are online based; we have loads of great online stores based in Gwynedd. Buying direct from these local online stores means that the businesses see more of their profits going direct to them, whereas the larger websites take a large percentage of the profits that “marketplace” sellers make.
Implementing these small changes into your buying rituals can really inject a lot of much-needed cash into our economy and help our small business and local farmers keep doing the amazing work that they’re doing. It’s not an easy task to completely switch to buying everything locally, as it might be a little more expensive and is not always convenient – but making small changes is better than not doing anything at all.
Remember – £5 a week!
About the author
Emily Prowse is a mother of two young boys and lives with her partner in Talysarn. Originally from London, Emily has lived in Gwynedd since she was 10 years old. She is a fluent Welsh speaker and is raising her children bilingually. Both Emily and her partner are self-employed; he as a translator and she as a blogger and crafter. Emily writes about eco-parenting at her blog, Nature-Loving Mama, and sells her hand-crafted products through her Facebook page, The Happy Little Pie.