As Christmas approaches it’s a good time to think about the benefits of buying local. With so many businesses struggling at present, an increase of 10 or 20% in turnover can make a big difference to their survival. Small businesses represent 80% of the local economy and are critical to maintainingemployment as well as providing services and products. We all know that a healthy employment rate makes a healthy economy so we need small local businesses to prosper.
When times are tough, like they are at present, the big guys have a far better chance of survival, with more to trim before they cut. You can’t ‘cut fat off a bone’, so the small businesses have far less options. It must be very disheartening when some small business operators take home the equivalent of $10 per hour after a long week in business.
So we can all do our bit as individuals and businesses. By buying local we are supporting our local businesses, and in turn, supporting the local people that operate those businesses. A healthy and prosperous business is in a better position to give back to the community, as many already do, through sponsorship and donations.
When it comes to food, buying local has even more benefits – shorter storage time means fresher and tastier produce. Eating with the season may also improve your nutrition and ultimately, your health. You’ll be helping to reduce food mileage as well, using less energy and generating fewer carbon emissions. Did you know that the average shopping basket of food travels over 70,000 miles before it gets to your plate? That’s nearly twice around the world!
Another way of thinking about the importance of buying local is to ask who will employ your child or grandchild when they leave school? For most it will be a local small business and for some it will be a large business. When your partner or sibling or mate loses their job, will there be any local small businesses to offer them another opportunity particularly if they are over 50?
Christmas is the time of giving, so let’s give our local small businesses a fighting chance by buying your presents and Christmas food locally.
We all benefit when we buy local; our local businesses survive and grow, we generate more local employment opportunities and we help to sustain a great place to live and work.