IN uncertain times it is important to stay healthy, happy, and to support the people closest to us; but what about supporting our local businesses? Now maybe the time to help your favourite shop, cafe or creator stay afloat.
Covid-19 regulations have created new lifestyle habits for many of us. We expect parcels at the door most weeks and have Amazon wish-lists rearing to go.
For many independent businesses though new regulations can be devastating.
Earlier this year Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged to help big and small businesses with funds of up to £330 billion and also suspended business rates for up to a year.
While the government can play its part in supporting the economy, there are many ways to get involved in helping local businesses thrive in the build-up to Christmas.
1. Keep local
Swapping your Amazon finds for local alternatives can be easy. Independent bookstores, furniture and antique stores exist all over Hampshire and make for great gift buying.
Independent stores like Beatnik Emporium offer a range of vintage and quirky clothing, a great idea for anyone looking for a unique and inspired Christmas gift or stocking filler
2. Get online
Since working from home is so popular now, many local businesses are catering to their online audiences. Your favourite small candle shop could deliver to you, or maybe your favourite local restaurant is now offering takeaway and collection. Just because doors are closing in-store doesn’t mean they are online
Cafe Thrive is a local, vegan cafe offering new take-away and delivery service despite not yet opening their doors for the dine-in experience.
3. Be creative
For a lot of people Christmas gift buying can prove difficult, even more so with limited online finds. Now is a better time than any to be creative with gift-giving. Small local businesses often have unique selling points and niche ideas.
The Marlands My Pottery is a great example of a creative experience and gift-giving.
4. Use socials
Social media is everywhere and can be easily put to use by anyone, anywhere. This Christmas it might be worth remembering that a quick share of your independent buys could go a long way in supporting independent or family-run businesses. Tagging them on location or sharing a pic with your friends is so quick and at your fingertips. For businesses like Fredericks Chocolates, a scroll through their Instagram tag can go a long way.
Facebook groups like Small Businesses in Hampshire offer exposure to local businesses, Toby’s Treats is one of many businesses using social media to shine a light on their coronavirus adapted business. The owner of Toby’s Treats, Vicki Reynolds, explains her business idea: “I started at the end of lockdown, people were staying at home and getting deliveries. So I opted to deliver dog treats on the same day if ordered before 6 pm to save people going to the shops.”
5. Stay sustainable
In the fight against fast fashion and empty shelves taking some time this holiday period to invest in small businesses is a sustainable way of shopping. Particularly when it comes to stores like Robins Nest Emporium, trading and second-hand buying is a great way to be more eco-friendly.
By Lauren Borthwick and Hannah De Boltz