- Supporting our Local Shops and Businesses

Use them or Loose them
Why we all need to Support Our Local Businesses

It is always important to support your local businesses, but it has never been more important than during these difficult economic times.

Some areas, including Bristol, have actually created their own local currency to help safeguard local independent retailers! They have more than 300 retailers signed up to this scheme making the Bristol pound the largest local currency in the UK.
This is a great idea as the more money you keep in your local area the better it is for everyone. Whilst the idea of the "Potters Bar Pound" or the "Cuffley Cent" sounds fun, lets think about some easier and more immediate ways in which we can help support our local businesses.
Buy Locally
Many of us now do our shopping on-line. There are several reasons for this: Its more convenient, there is normally more choice on line than the local stores may offer, and its quicker. Of course its unlikely that everyone will stop buying on-line completely, but lets all try to find as much as possible in the local shops. If you havent been in them for a while you will probably be surprised at what they have on offer. Why not set a goal of buying all your Christmas presents from shops in the local area?
Avoid Large Franchise Businesses
Buying from locally owned business normally means the money you spend ripples through to other local businesses. This is not the case with the big organisations or franchise businesses. For example, if you go out to dinner at a local restaurant (as opposed to a franchise/chain) it is likely that much of what that the local restaurant purchases for their business will be from other local businesses. Franchises most often get their supplies from a central source which is not local.
Become a Supporter for Local Businesses
Word of mouth is one of the most successful ways to spread the word. If you have used a local product, business or restaurant and you want to recommend them, then tell everyone. If you have received great customer service then let your friends, colleagues and neighbours know about it. This is so much easier now with social media tools such as facebook and twitter
Your Business Can Support Local Business
Do you run your own business? If so you are in a great position to support others in your area. Wherever possible, buy all your supplies locally and when you need extra staff, contractors etc try and use local resources.
We have been running the Potters Bar Eye for almost 7 years and it never ceases to amaze me how many great local businesses there are right on our doorstep, how many talented individuals and skilled tradesmen we have right in our midst - why look outside when we dont have to.
Its not easy, but if we can all try to do at least one of the above it would make a difference.

We need to remember that our local businesses are the life of our community and the stronger our local businesses, the stronger our community will be.

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Herts, EN6 9BW

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