Whilst holidaying at Center Parcs earlier this year, this sign assaulted my eyes and was a stark reminder of the corporate world taking over. Let’s face it, when you’re trying to have a middle class time prancing around smelling of chlorine you don’t want that forest vibe being interrupted by corporate nonsense. (Sure there’s some sort of irony in there somewhere given the holiday destination…)
This sign rings true of most high streets, train stations, airports and… forests apparently. As much as finding a Starbucks for a coffee-on-the-run situation can sometimes be a marriage of convenience there are huge merits to shopping independent. Whether it’s purchasing goods or simply using local services with trusted tradesmen and women, here are 3 reasons why I think local is best.
# ONE – COMMUNITY
Shopping independent provides a huge sense of community. One of my favourite things about the city of Liverpool is the huge emphasis and promotion of independent companies and I know there are similar feelings in other cities in the UK and beyond. I am however hugely bias – Liverpool does things in the best way. Independent Liverpool are an impressive force in the city whose websites and online presence do their utmost to support all things independent in Merseyside. They have paved the way for steering clear of the corporate and embracing the unique in the city and it is through them and good old word of mouth that Lee and I have heard of some of our favourite places in the city and have returned to these places time and time again over the last 4 years. They keep all us independent lovers well informed of brand new places and old faithfuls, dishes that you shouldn’t miss and support so many local people in many ways from feeding the homeless to sharing local job vacancies.
# TWO – ORIGINALITY
How many of you know the feeling of buying an item of clothing only to find that you can spot at least 5 other people in the space of 10 minutes wearing that exact item? I once bought a scarf from Primark and nipped to the shop only to find that there were 3 of us wearing the same scarf in a tiny local Tesco. Minds that think alike are not always great. Shopping independent breeds uniqueness. In looking for and shopping local, there will always be someone making, doing or selling something that is unique to the location whether it’s a local bakery selling regional treats or a gift shop selling locally made or sourced items. I know that there are certain shops where I can buy a gift for someone that they won’t have seen before or best of all, somewhere I can eat something unbelievably delicious that I’ve never tasted before.
And whilst I’m all about gifts and trinkets, food uniqueness is my favourite, which leads us nicely on to…
# THREE – TASTINESS
Another reason why Liverpool in particular is great is that there’s a plethora of deliciousness across the city and always something new to try, and best of all, I know I won’t find it in my local Starbucks or Asda. From great coffee to bagels to sweet eats, Liverpool itself is packed full of food joy. It’s not just our fair city either, if you research and look hard enough, a detour to a local establishment in your own town or city will, I’m sure, find you in the midst of somewhere unique.
So go out into the big wide world of your village, town or city and shop independent. I can guarantee that you will find something to be treasured.
Yours in good things,
Small Business Saturday – a day celebrating the joys and economic benefits of shopping local.
Independent Shops – a directory of local business, just search your town/city for a wealth of ideas to support local businesses.