You’ve probably heard the £5 message a lot over the past couple of years…
If every adult in the UK spent £5 each week in their local shops and businesses (instead of online, at the supermarket or with big multinationals), it would be worth £13.5 billion going directly back into our towns.
We’re obviously big fans of small independents (being one ourselves), but it is SO easy to head to the supermarket quickly after work. Or do a speedy online shop for more PVA glue and pom-poms once the kids are in bed. We often find ourselves time poor and, quite honestly, sometimes just the idea of heading into an actual bookshop, rather than a quick tap on Amazon, makes me feel tired.
But the world has shifted and we’re even more aware of the precarious position a lot of businesses find themselves in now. Wouldn’t it be great if we could champion those who have supported us and our local economies through thick and thin?
As a family run independent that opened just 13 months ago, we found ourselves getting swept up in obscenely long weeks, working every day without pause. We did what we felt we had to do to get the shop off the ground – we’re perfectionists and even now we sometimes struggle to switch off and take a break.
But that’s what you do when you own and run a small business – you graft.
And that in a nutshell is why I adore independents.
They are the ones who will drive 100 miles to drop off a cake on your Wedding Day when someone else has let you down.
They’ll spend an hour with you, chatting through every bottle of red wine on their shelves, because you want to make a good first impression at that swanky dinner party.
They’ll hand write cards, gift wrap and carefully tape up your parcel because they want it to reach you in perfect condition.
They invest in local people, local charity and with other local businesses.
They respond to emails at midnight, answer the phone well after closing time and give their heart and soul to their business.
There’s a saying which I absolutely hate… ‘It’s not personal, it’s business’. This is simply not true when you own, run or work for an independent. It could not be more personal.
That’s why we should all spend £5 a week with local businesses…
Amazon and Tesco will still be there for our late night buys and weekly shop, but £5 helps ensure our towns are filled with beautiful businesses run by real people, not boards and share holders. Where you’ll find originality, flair and, most importantly, passion. Why would we throw that all away for just £5?
The lovely photo above was taken by Trudie Smith.
Trudie started taking photos of the independents in Penrith to help promote us during the Covid-19 crisis. Her exhibition, The Beautiful Face of Penrith, is currently running at the Eden Valley Artistic Network Gallery.
If you want to find out more about the £5 message, head over to TotallyLocally and see how easy it is to support your local economy!