Shopping local benefits us all

by Andy Bryenton

There’s an old saying — ‘what goes around comes around’. It’s true of good deeds and perhaps hints at the eastern philosophy or karma. Moreover it’s also the principle behind shopping locally to boost the local economy. From small ex-mining towns in the north of England to little communities along America’s classic Route 66, the wheels of local commerce are turning to the benefit of all and it’s happening here too.

Think of it in simple terms. Drive out of town to buy a ten dollar t-shirt, and that banknote is gone. Buy the same item locally, and the shop owner will spend it again — maybe buying a steak from the butchers. Who pays for a pint at the tavern. Where the landlord pays his bartender, who gets a WOF for his motorcycle — and so on — the same ten dollars has been spent several times, and each time it benefits local business.

It also helps create jobs. Spending just a few dollars a week adds up if everyone is doing it. In fact, it adds up fast — to literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. Enough to make sure local people find work locally. That cuts travel time and gives them disposable income, which boosts the cycle of wealth in a town. That’s not to mention the fact that thriving local businesses are often the pillars on which community clubs, sports teams and charitable societies rest. Small business owners are big contributors to things like Christmas parades, fundraisers for people who need medical operations overseas, uniform for junior sportspeople and a host of other causes.

Then there’s the case for diversity. Boutique shops, small businesses manufacturing speciality goods and of course the ever-popular farmers’ markets are all examples of local companies maintaining and enhancing the character of our small towns. Perhaps a large proportion could be replaced by one big generic big-box retailer, but as we have seen in the United States, this often comes at the cost of good wages, shopping variety and the unique personality of a small town. Some towns in America have rallied to keep the big retailers out and enjoy; as a result the custom of out-of-town tourists and visitors who appreciate fresh, interesting and most of all different local crafts, foods and produce.

We’re lucky to have a huge range of businesses at our disposal here in Selwyn. It’s a region with character and plenty on offer. In fact, there are not many excuses to leave the local area to find everything you might need — and plenty of reasons to support the community, keeping it strong for the future.