From the 10th to the 16th of August, the UK Gov has announced its shop local initiative, part of their wider ‘Enjoy Summer Safely’ campaign, aimed at getting people back onto the high street, and to help it bounce back.
Alok Sharma, Business secretary believes “Business owners have done an incredible job so far to welcome shoppers back safely, and I hope people across the country will do their bit this week to help our high streets bounce back to protect jobs and support local communities.”
The government hopes that more consumers will head back to the high street, after a slow start in reopening town and city centres. From small stall holders, to corner shops, proving a personal service, or a larger community concern the gov, is hoping by highlighting the small and micro businesses in our communities, footfall will increase, and in turn, help support the high street.
On Monday, the gov outlined eight reasons why people should support Shop Local week:
‘Help the high street, and support the local economy’
By spending money at local businesses, you put money back into the local economy. Small and Micro businesses have a big role in the UK, both in terms of the money they put back into the country, as well as being job creators. Supporting local businesses has never been more important.
‘Save jobs- and create even more’
Our high streets are communities. They support people by creating jobs, creating networks and creating support groups. Supporting local businesses helps keep these communities alive.
It’s not just large internet retailers who have a great deal. With the current VAT slash, as well as the ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme, shops, pubs and restaurants are all cheaper. You are getting a great deal, and small businesses are getting custom.
‘A safe way to shop’
Small businesses everywhere have been working on ensuring that their businesses are safe. From hand sanitiser stations at the door, to one way systems around stores, even partitions at the till. Combined with social distancing, and face masks, small business owners are doing everything they can to keep you safe.
‘Preserving the heart of the community’
The high street is the hub of communities. From shops, community centres, cafes, parks and libraries, the revenue generated in small shops goes to support these community assets, helping people find space to socialise.
‘Spoilt for choice’
Many small businesses support small creators. Be it a screen printed bag, a vintage coat, or a handmade silver ring, there are many unique items on the high street which you cannot buy from the supermarket, or online giant.
‘A better shopping experience’
Many people are turning to online to shop currently. A faceless transaction, you simply click on an item, and it arrives in an unmarked brown box to your front door. Know what you want exactly? Then yes, this can be an advantage. Not 100% sure, or would like to ask someone’s opinion? Well, there is no human interaction. Want some advice when looking for a present? Small business owners can help. They know their stock inside out. Who better to ask for that personalised approach?
‘Help the environment’
Everything we buy has a footprint, from the new mobile phone in your pocket, to the pound of potatoes you bought in the local farm shop. Air miles of products are something many people are now looking at. Where is this item from? How much carbon was used to get it to my door? Many small businesses stock items which are sourced locally. This reduces the carbon footprint of items you can purchase. Great for the environment, and supporting even more local businesses!
Mike Cherry, the National Chair of the Federation of Small Business (FBS) says ‘Even those businesses who haven’t been able to reopen their stores, or members of the public who are continuing to shield, then shopping online is a great way to still do your part. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy nationwide, but crucially are the cornerstones of our local communities.’