Supporting local business

What do a nail brush, a white board and a pyrex dish have in common?

I bought them all in a local store, supporting a local family business!

This week’s Change the World Wednesday challenge is all about keeping it within the local economy.

Small footprints writes:

This week shop local by making at least one purchase from a local independent business.

In other words, pass right by the big chain stores and search out a local merchant.

Need some ideas? Have your hair cut by an independent salon … buy food from a farmer’s market or a local grocer … get your car maintained by the neighbourhood mechanic … get your cup of coffee from the neighborhood barista.

Want to shop online? No problem … shop at a local Etsy shop, via a site such as GROUPON, using CRAIGSLIST or do an Internet search for local businesses in your area to find their website.

Well I can’t begin to tell you how much fun I’ve had.

To start with I treated myself to a beautiful pendant. It’s my Yule gift from Mr Green and we commissioned a friend to make it for me. I chose the colours, the style of the pendant, the message on it and it really is a one of a kind. So much better than something run off a machine and which thousands of other women will be wearing!

My hair is indeed cut at an independently owned salon. Tabitha James Kraan has her salon in the Cotswolds and uses only organic products. Did I mention that they massage conditioner into your hair as a special treat!? I take Little Miss Green to a friend in the next village who cuts her hair at home and even composts the hair clippings in her wormery!

Our car is taken to a local garage; the guy who runs it and knows everything there is to know about car engines, is a relative of a friend in the village. He even comes and takes the car for us so there’s no hassle or stress.

We support our local butcher where we can buy meat, bread, eggs, cheese and home made pies. He serves us everything in our own reusable containers so there is no packaging waste. As we can buy exactly the amount we need of anything there’s no food waste either.

The other side of the hill is a fruit orchard where, for half the year, I can buy all the fruit I need. We start the season with strawberries, move onto black currants, raspberries and later in the season enjoy apples. Surplus stock is frozen or dehydrated for later in the year.

Most of our vegetables come from a choice of three, yes three! local organic farm shops. I really am spoilt for choice and can buy dried and tinned goods in them too. There really is no excuse to set foot in a supermarket when you live in a farming community.

I think that’s got me covered! When we last had the house decorated, the chimney lined and the floor replaced we used small independent companies. Even our windows and doors were fitted not by a large chain corporation, but a small family owned business.

When I think about all the local businesses I use I realise how much better they are. Ok, I need to travel a bit further than the convenience of finding everything under one roof but you can be guaranteed a laugh and a personal greeting in the butcher, the people in the farm shop know my preferences and will even deliver if I’m ever stuck without transport, our mechanic knows my car, knows its history and always does meticulous work because he values my custom, at my local orchard I’m invited to try things and he asks my opinion on last week’s fruit…

In short you get personalised service and feel valued and that means a lot to me as a customer.

What about you – do you prefer the anonymity of a supermarket where you can get all you need under one roof or do you prefer to support your local business?

1 Comment

  1. Small Footprints on November 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Every once in awhile, I head for the nearest supermarket for something “quick”. But what I’ve realized is that it isn’t worth it … not only don’t I get personalized service, the product is never top quality. The independent merchants are just a bit further away but in return I get products produced right here … top quality products … from really nice people who care. And I get more than the product … I get information! My “tomato guy” tells me which varieties are best for sandwiches, sauces, etc. My “apple guy” advises me on the types of apples which are best for cooking and which are better for snacking. And … contrary to what some people think, the local guys have loyalty programs. When I shop, they appreciate my loyalty and usually slide a few extras into my box. I like knowing that my money helps my community … and that the merchant is a neighbor. 🙂