Members of Thurles Chamber
Why We Should Shop Locally
Thurles Chamber launched their ‘Shop Local Campaign’ in recent weeks and erected signs on the main approach roads into the town to focus attention on the importance of shopping local. We all enjoy the fun and ease of shopping in Thurles but have we as consumers really stopped to think about the overall benefits to our town.
Protecting our local character and our reasonable current prosperity, while also retaining a supportive community.
Thurles is distinct and unlike any other town in the world. By choosing to support locally owned businesses, we immediately help maintain the town’s huge diversity and its very distinctive flavour. Many town centres in Ireland, now are beginning to look the same, with franchises and multi-nationals springing up. Independent shops on the other hand create a distinctive shopping experiences and stock new and different products. Most people can get to their local shops easily and this is especially important for our elderly, vulnerable and young people and those without any form of transport.
Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centres which in turn are essential to reducing urban sprawl, unnecessary transport use, wild life habitat loss, and air and water pollution. Local stores in our town centres require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to shopping malls. Shopping local protect and secure services with private, voluntary and public sector services clustering around our many shops. The loss of our main high street often corresponds to a reduction in these services, so as shops begin to disappear, so regretably also do the our hairdressers, our vets, our dentists, our doctors etc.
People don’t like losing shops and services in villages and small towns, but do not always equate this to how they spend their disposable incomes. Shops will only survive if customers spend locally, so if you want a vibrant town centre, where people can socialise as well as shop, businesses must also start thinking seriously about how to encourage people to shop locally. Local businesses are owned by people who live in our community, who are less likely to leave, and who are more invested in the community’s welfare and future prosperity. Keeping our shops open by buying locally helps the Thurles environs as a whole.
Locally owned businesses also build strong neighbourhoods by sustaining communities, linking neighbours, and by contributing more to Thurles causes. Local ownership means that important decisions are being made locally by people who live in the Thurles community and who themselves will feel the immediate impacts of their own decisions. Going local does not mean cutting off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably. These businesses employ local workers at decent wages who serve, primarily, local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependant on foreign imports. Control will automatically now move from the boardrooms of distant and often greedy corporations and back into our own community where it must surely and indeed rightly belong.
Independent shops keep traditional Thurles products alive. They should respond more quickly to the needs of Thurles customers, stocking products to meet the changing populations need. They can also be more innovative, let us never forget, for example, that organic products were first developed not by the multinationals or franchises of this world, but by local individual and independent sole traders. Nationally, entrepreneurship fuels our economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of the sphere of low-wage jobs.
Euros Spent Locally Have Three Times More Impact On Our Community
Your euro spent in locally owned businesses has three times the impact on your community as a Euro spent in multi-national chains. When shopping locally, you simultaneously create jobs, fund more town services through taxes, invest in neighbourhood improvement and promote community development. As stated, shops in our town’s centre create local employment and self-employment. These people in turn spend in our local economy. Evidence shows that for every £10 spent in an independent shop, £25 is generated for the local economy compared to only £14 spent in multinationals. Sole traders and independent stores are proportionally more generous in their support for local charities, schools and other community events. So supporting local shops means a financial reward both for you and our community.
Out of town shops have done an excellent job of convincing us all, that sole traders are expensive, but the evidence just isn’t there to back this up. If you add together travel, parking costs, fees and valuable time spent, all consumed in transporting larger items home, the overall cost is, in the vast majority of cases, much higher.
We talk a lot about exerting influence with our purchasing power or “voting with our purses”. It’s a fact that business respond to their customers, but your values and desires are much more influential to your local community business than ever to the franchises and multinationals.
We are all becoming increasingly aware of our CO2 emissions and our environmental impact problems. Local shops, often stock a high percentage of locally sourced goods and products, where long car, train and bus journeys aren’t required, thus helping reduce our carbon footprints. Locally grown produce can be on your table within hours of being harvested. In order to be ripe for you, shipped produce must be picked days before peak ripeness to allow for transit times. Buying local means freshness and by buying from our local farmers, freshness is guaranteed. When you purchase at locally owned businesses rather than nationally owned, more money is kept in the community because locally managed and owned businesses often purchase from other local suppliers, services and farms. Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) 3rd President of the U S A (1801–1809), and principal author of the Declaration of Independence once stated:
“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country, and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds”.
A market place like Thurles containing hundreds of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term and Thurles has as its hinterland the richest producing farmland in europe.
The unique character of Thurles is defined to a large degree by the businesses that reside here, and this will continue to plays a huge and deciding factor in our overall satisfaction with where we live and the value of our home and property.
So it is in our own interests to Think Local – Shop Local – and Buy Local.
To quote Derek Edward Trotter (Del Boy) from Only Fools And Horses “You know it makes sence”.