Thanks for Supporting an Independent Retailer Campaign
What exactly is an independent retailer?
Independent retailers are businesses that are privately owned. They are usually thought of as single-store operations but can be sizable chains. In numbers of stores (but not sales), independents represent a majority of retailers and are the source of much of what is new and different in retail.
What's the difference between buying from your local multiple store or your independent?
The answer is that buying local is really all about local ownership, which is a really important factor in helping to keep regional economies strong. More and more people understand that supporting independent businesses is essentially voting with your pounds for a healthy local economy.
Why are local independents so important to the local economy?
Independent businesses are more accountable to customers and the local community, they ensure the unique character of an area, they are more likely to support local charities and have greater direct control over the environmental impact of their businesses. Supporting independent businesses creates local jobs, preserves economic diversity, safeguards the environment.
Why is a offering a different shopping experience important ?
Having a choice in what you buy is very important. We are all unique individual with our own tastes and styles, which we want to represent. Our high streets and city centres are becoming cloned losing any form of local identity and offering uniformed goods and services. Having a vibrant independent retail sector preserves choice, style and identity.
- Retail outlets act as a focal point for communities to interact
- A vibrant retail sector can draw in visitors, and thus contribute significantly to the economic prosperity of an area
- Appropriate signage and decoration contribute positively to the wider visual environment, which supports other initiatives.
Why is it important to support local independent retailers?
We are hearing a lot about the benefits of shopping for local foodstuffs. Many of us don't realize that the purchase of locally produced food puts as much as 4 to 6 times more money back into the local economy than imported foodstuffs. That's astonishing information about consumer power.
The same economic multiplier effect also applies to the price of locally made products, local furniture, local clothing designs, and all kinds of goods that are actually made here in the local area. Locally produced goods and services also mean less transportation and less burning of fuel.
Essentially, you vote with your pounds to support your own local jobs and public services when you buy local first.
Money flowing round the local economy : How does this work?
This is perhaps the most exciting point in this campaign. Money spent at locally owned independent businesses goes around longer in the local economy. As local business people pay for all kinds of local services, spend their profits and pay taxes locally, this yields two to four times the economic benefit to you, the local resident, as comparable non-local businesses. This means more local income, wealth, and jobs.
Multiple stores have all their money sent back to their head office, so the only money flowing through the local economy is via the staff wages. With a locally owned business, everything flows through the local economy.
American studies: What did they find?
American studies have found that local businesses re-circulate 70% more money locally than chain stores do, per square foot occupied. The San Francisco Retail Diversity Study found that just a slight shift in consumer purchasing behavior - diverting just 10% of purchases from national chain stores to locally owned businesses - would, each year, create 1,300 new jobs in the city and yield nearly $200 million in incremental economic activity.
If this doesn’t convince you, consider the quality of the shopping experience. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with the multiple stores in every high street across the UK, it’s the mix of independent retailers that make the shopping mix interesting.
Back in the UK: What’s going on here?
Back in the UK, Birmingham City planning chiefs drafted in BBC2’s Mary, Queen of Shops, in a bid to create a distinctive Birmingham shopping experience by attracting more independent retailers to the city centre. Recognising that people are attracted to places that are different, and that what makes them different is the different kinds of leisure and shopping experience.
Government think tanks, green activists and monopolies commissions have long been looking at the make up of the retail environment, although much of their studies focus on Supermarkets, the out of town shopping centres and convergence of the high street affect us all.
How do we go forward and what do you want to do?
Retailing is all about image, It’s about a vision for our city or town, Its about what makes our locality unique. We need to look at the vision for our towns and city centres and the image we are portraying.
There is overwhelming evidence that local businesses are the key to pumping up local income, wealth, jobs, and taxes. The more residents, businesses, and city officials support locally owned businesses, the greater the economic rewards.
The issue of car parking must be properly addressed as a priority. Out-of-town shopping centers benefit from the advantage of huge, free parking facilities, and this has created an imbalance as the majority of town centre parking is currently chargeable and hard to find. This factor is often what makes the difference in a shopper’s choice of where to go and therefore parking availability and pricing must be a key element in regeneration planning.
That sounds interesting, but what can I do?
Big box stores are steamrolling their way into cities and towns throughout the UK, forcing small, local businesses to close because they can't compete with these mega- companies resources.
But there's something that every consumer can do. You can vote with your purse or wallet in favour of locally-owned, independent businesses. Don’t let your high street become another statistic – Join our "Thanks for supporting an Independent retailer" campaign.