Local Business Week 2017: Support the Local Fightback

By SME Insurance

Posted 18/05/17

Following the financial crisis of 2007 – 2008, the outlook for local independent businesses seemed to be bleak. According to a report from 2011, an average of 20 shops per day were closing and a downturn in customer spending was crippling the high street [1].

Mary Portas’ 2011 independent review into the future of the UK high street showed that less than half of our retail spending was in the high street and that figure was continuing to fall [2], resulting in nearly one in six shops being vacant [3].

But the fight back has been on for some time, thanks to campaigns such as Local Business Week – “An annual campaign encouraging the UK to get behind their local businesses, providing advice, support and ways to grow” [4].

Other champions of high street includes The Retailer Advisory Board, who were formed to identify and evaluate retail opportunities and “Save The High Street” [5], and the founders of local loyalty schemes. These websites help to unearth local, independent hidden gems and promote a city’s best kept secrets. Current loyalty schemes includes Independent Liverpool [6], Independent Birmingham [7], and Independent Lancaster [8].

In 2017, it’s great to see the decline of the high street has not only been stopped; it’s in full reverse in towns and cities across the UK. It was recently reported that the number of independent shops on the high street increased last year and the UK’s vacancy rate is at the lowest since 2010 [9].

For lovers of the local business, this is great news. Indeed, according to recent research, the growth of independent businesses is at a 12 month high [10].

As this week is Local Business Week 2017 let’s examine some of the great reasons to “go local”, as detailed in a report in the Guardian Newspaper [11].

Local Business Week 2017: Seven Reasons to “Go Local”

  1. Boost the local economy: Research shows that, 63p of every £1 spent with local businesses stays in the local economy.
  1. Protect the value of your home: Another research study found that, over the last ten years, the price of houses close to thriving high streets rose by an average of £40,000 more that those where local businesses are struggling.
  1. Get value for money: Schemes like Independent Liverpool offer discounts at participating businesses.
  1. Support British entrepreneurs: Buying from local businesses gives local independent artisans – be they bakers, butchers, cafés, or artists – the boost they need to stay in business.
  1. Help build a community: The more local businesses thrive, the more will open – and you end up with a town where, for instance, bookshops, cafes and craft shops work together to host local events, from book clubs to children’s craft clubs.
  1. Get free advice: Smart local traders know that building a loyal customer base is vital to their success – so they are, more often than not, happy to give out free advice and guidance, rather than simply resorting to a hard sell.
  1. Try before you buy: Compared with their larger cousins, independent grocers, for instance, are more likely to allow you to taste a product before you commit to buying. In the same vein, many independent off-licences throw wine tasting events, while bakeries and delis often hand out tasters.

Go Local This Local Business Week

So there you have it. The fight to bring businesses and people back to the high street is well underway. For more information, visit http://www.localbusinessweek.co.uk.

 

Sources

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/struggling-retailers-closing-20-shops-a-day-2308841.html

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/6292/2081646.pdf

[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/31823/11-1402-understanding-high-street-performance.pdf

[4] http://www.localbusinessweek.co.uk/

[5] https://www.savethehighstreet.org/

[6] http://independent-liverpool.co.uk/

[7] http://independent-birmingham.co.uk/

[8] http://www.independent-lancaster.co.uk/

[9] https://www.conveniencestore.co.uk/news/independents-drive-rise-in-high-street-shop-openings/547397.article

[10] http://blog.localdatacompany.com/growth-of-independent-businesses-hits-a-12-month-high

[11] https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/dec/06/shop-locally-small-business-saturday-seven-reasons

Posted 18/05/17

Author: SME Insurance

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