Shop Local vs Shop Independent

“Shop Local” and “Shop Independent” are phrases you hear across social media and the news lots today.

But, do you ever stop and think of the different meanings, and whether you should make a conscious decision to shop one way or another?

With the growth of online shopping and out of town shopping centre’s, many of our local towns have become quieter – with fewer people shopping, empty shop units and sometimes a lack of variety to tempt customers.

Large chain stores seem to be closing shops or going into administration as they suffer from lack of customers, revenue and loyalty. Just recently we’ve had household names such as Debenhams, House of Fraser, Boots all having problems and closing or threatening to close stores. It’s so easy these days to order online, from clothing to furniture, gifts to food – and everything in between!

There are also campaigns around supporting independent businesses, and that its these small businesses (many of which are family owned) shoppers need to be buying from to help support the high street and help the local economy.

However, the town centre can’t just be about independent businesses.  There needs to be a good combination of national brands providing well-known products and services, which are then complemented by fantastic local, independent businesses providing a diversity of products, maybe handmade or locally sourced items, personalised and individual service.

Having the right combination to enable shoppers to Shop Local will increase footfall and spend back into local towns.  To ‘Shop Local’ means simply to go into your local town and buy or use the shops that there.  This will help make your town thrive and be vibrant – whether it be a national brand or a local, independent business.

Don’t think that you have to be shopping at an independent store to be supporting the local high street. Shopping in both independent and chain stores can have a positive impact – more people shopping locally will encourage more shops to open, lead to increased variety and give independent owners the belief that they can follow their dream to open their own shop, as well as keeping national brands alive and making it economically viable to remain in your town centre!

Have a look around your high street, go into shops you haven’t been in before to have a look around. You never know what you might find!

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