✦ Although the very mention of COVID-19 again might send many into a cold, sweaty panic, there’s no denying that a major positive to be realised through the pandemic was the importance of local community.
Cast your mind back to those dark days of lockdowns and curfews and the role that local communities played from a support perspective was profound; if anything, the global pandemic helped unite so many in all four corners of the earth and emphasised exactly how vital a vibrant local community is.
It is therefore why we at Brilliant Online actively promote the merits of 'Keeping it local'. In this age of big business, behemoth shopping malls, global restaurant chains and a booming e-commerce industry, it is crucial that we ensure our local businesses continue to thrive in order to stay alive.”
The benefits of keeping it local are extensive and, frankly, self-explanatory, from an economic and a social perspective. Deciding to buy goods and produce from local businesses, and to opt for local trades and services, ensures that the local economy prospers, which in turn creates a vibrant community. When a consumer spends locally it ensures that a larger percentage of the money remains in the local community as opposed to topping up the coffers of the already ridiculously rich large corporate chains.
This, of course, has a positive knock-on effect that allows local businesses to continue to not only survive but to grow. It also ensures that people remain in jobs, another big plus to the overall health of the local community. Also, with money circulating locally, there will often be other initiatives that are created that have a bigger positive impact, such as local community fairs or charitable events. Think of it as investing in your local community, which can provide an array of opportunities to not only sustain but to develop.
Another, often overlooked, benefit of keeping it local is how it fosters a stronger sense of community by building robust and very real relationships. There’s something special about actually knowing the person behind the product or service you are investing in that you can’t really put a price on. Be that your local butcher, favourite restaurant, mechanic or electrician, you can literally associate a face and personality with the product or service that usually develops into a relationship of trust and respect. Local business owners actually care about what they are providing and place a significant level of pride in what they do, a dynamic more often than not reciprocated by the consumer. This also tends to create a notion of unique identity specific to that local community. Compare that with buying your goods from a generic large-scale retailer with soulless employees who often tend not to care so much and it is a no brainer!
It also pays to mention here that general customer service benefits from this dynamic in the local community. We’ve all experienced the frustrating phone calls to customer service lines where we are either placed on hold for what seems like an eternity or have to contend with someone who, ultimately, doesn’t seem to be able to actually help or even care! You don’t get this issue when dealing locally as reputation is too important and something that can be undermined in an instant. It leaves one with a sense of a more personalised service, which ultimately goes a long way to ensuring customer satisfaction.
Keeping it local also has a big positive impact on the environment as less goods are needed to be transported in, usually via ships and large trucks, that often require excess packaging. This is especially relevant to goods from within the agricultural industry such as dairy, fruit and vegetables produce and meat. Local businesses also often tend to favour employing sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. Knowing that you are reducing your carbon footprint is just one more satisfying reason to keep it local.
The majority of us are fiercely proud of where we are from or where we have elected to live and the impact of our local community in shaping our character and the person we are cannot be overlooked. Local businesses are crucial to shaping this dynamic, to creating something vibrant, unique, special, an environment with character. In this day and age of enhanced convenience it is all too easy to just click online in order to purchase our goods or engage service providers. But this approach slowly but surely erodes the character and very existence of local business and community so consider opting local next time you need something.
As the old saying goes, “We are better when we work together” so let’s do just that and continue to keep it local!
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