Here’s a thought. You’ve got £5 (or more) in your pocket and are going shopping. So where do you spent it? If, like so many people, you intend to head for a major supermarket, out-of-town shopping development, or shop online, why not change the habit and try your local shops?
You might be quite surprised at what the British high street has to offer; at its best, spending time and money with your local traders offers a personal, entertaining experience the big chains and online retailers struggle to match. And that £5 could mean a whole lot more – if every adult spent that much from their budget weekly, it would mean a massive investment in the local town centre, making it a vibrant, distinctive community and boosting job opportunities for local people.
Very often, local shops offer shorter queues than the big out-of-town shopping meccas, especially at this time of year, and you should receive individual attention.
The concept is very much alive in my local suburb, where the local people have embraced a campaign to boost the butcher, the baker and candlestick maker (and all his or her independent retail equivalents) totally-locally.co.uk/westbridgford/. Some of the recent successes have included a Christmas market – it was a case of ‘Be there or Be humbug!’
Yes, the way we shop and our relationship with retail and retailers has fundamentally changed since the turn of the new century, but there’s no reason, given the amount of hidden retail gems on or near our high streets that Britain couldn’t once again embrace small shops on a bigger scale. Give them a try…