Last year, the Isle of Wight held it’s fifth Small Business Saturday with the aim to encourage consumers to shop locally and support people in their local communities. As the Island floods with tourists during the summer months and not so much in winter, the event usually falls on the last weekend of November to help businesses when they may need it most. Small Business Saturday 2017 was more successful than ever and with the backing of the council, long stay car parks were free for several hours to encourage shoppers to make a day out of the event – hopefully this will be repeated in 2018 to ensure even more people attend. As an Island business, we encourage those to shop locally and small, whether the sector is hospitality, technology, financial and of course – design. Below are some great reasons as to why we all should spend our money locally.
Improving the Local Economy Without Breaking the Bank:
For every £1 spent in a small business, 68p stays in the local economy compared to a much smaller 40p when spending at a larger corporation. In this way, if every person on the Isle of Wight spent an extra £100 a year shopping small, a huge £9,520,000 would be injected back into the local economy [based on approximately 140,000 residents]. That’s almost an extra 10 million pounds for our schools, NHS, charities, services and businesses.
It is also proven that thriving high streets are more likely to increase the sales of your homes. American Express found that houses nearby to a vibrant high street have increased by £40,000 more than other properties that live by more desolate high streets.
There is a common consensus that shopping locally can be more expensive – however, this is not always true. Bakers tend to pop an extra bun in for regulars, market stall holders are prepared to negotiate and many reward on regular custom. On top of this, you can get discounts for things you actually want rather than falling into the ‘multibuy trap’.
Independent traders tend to give better customer service also as they offer an experience with one on one service, they’re also more likely to give better advice as they know he community and can offer a product that caters to you, your home and your neighbourhood. Particularly in our sector, this is so important as we have an extensive knowledge of the Island. In some ways, the true benefit of buying locally is that you pay for so much more than just product or service.
Many items from large corporations are imported from all over the world whereas buying from your local butchers, green grocers and bakers shortens the field to fork process. At Mattinson Associates, we don’t have a field to fork process, we have a design to build process where we try and use island stone and local services for all our architectural jobs. This reduces the amount of transport, facilities and packing that is needed and therefore reduces our overall environmental impact. On the same note as this, going to your local high street usually requires less driving consequently having the same effect.
Many local producers pride themselves on their products being organic, hormone free and pesticide free. This is not only beneficial for the consumer but also the environment as harmful pesticides are kept out of the air, improving the crops and protecting any nearby wildlife. Compared to this, large corporations might have less control over pesticides as they often have to produce in such vast quantities to keep up with the high demand.
Quirkiness & Character:
Where local shops are run by people, not stockholders or boards, they tend to have more character to them and quirkiness. When mixed in the high streets it creates character and identity to the community with a touch of warm personality. A street filled with a variety or restaurants, bars and cafes that are vibrant and unique can attract more tourism, making the community more popular and financially prosperous. This natural authenticity will always be more popular than any large corporation.
Local businesses also tend to support local charities that are more relevant to the area. Large corporations do this also, however to ensure your spare change goes to a local charity, it may be better to donate through a small business. As well as this, items made locally and are one offs to that area make great presents or pieces for your homes; for example, independent bookstores on the Island stock and support local authors.
So how can we all get a little more involved in the small business movement?
– Instead of shopping locally on Small Business Saturday, why not do it every day. On a small scale, next time you need a loaf of bread pay a visit to your local bakery and on a larger scale, if you’re thinking about building a new home contact your local Architect’s practice.
– So many local businesses offer loyalty rewards, sign up and get yourself some discounts.
– With the vast increase of tourists we have on the Isle of Wight in summer months, its so important to review local businesses on Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google as these are places that visitors will look at. Share your positive experiences and encourage others to visit on these platforms.
– If you’re a small business owner, support Small Business Saturday and promote it to your customers and clientele.
– Share this post! Get vocal on social media and share your pictures, status’, tweets of your local business tat you own or if not, you shopping at one. Don’t forget to hashtag #shopsmall also!
PHOTO CREDITS: NORTH HOUSE, COWES | THE FLORAL BOUTIQUE, RYDE | BAYLISS & BOOTH, NEWPORT