Good reasons to Shop Local

Albert Road in Southsea
Albert Road in Southsea
Helen Burch at her Southsea home, but still waiting for a bed Picture: Malcolm Wells

CONSUMER: The perils of using Groupon - missing bed causes Helen sleepless nights

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INDEPENDENT traders bring hundreds of millions of pounds into the local economy every year.

That is why today, The News launches its Shop Local campaign, asking our readers to support retailers that are run by and employ local people.

The rise of the internet and out-of-city shopping areas have changed shoppers’ habits in the past decade – something independent businesses are having to adapt to.

But it is also up to communities to get behind traders, some of which have been in business for generations, to save the diversity small traders bring to high streets.

And as well as helping put money back into the local area, using independent retailers can ensure they continue to play a prominent role in our vibrant centres of the future.

Barry Walker, Portsmouth City Council’s city centre manager, says buying goods and services from local businesses ploughs ‘hundreds of millions of pounds’ into the city’s economy each year.

He said the more we support and spend in independently-owned businesses, the more the local economy will grow.

As an example of how shopping locally can help communities, as well as put more into the local economy and create jobs, Mr Walker said: ‘If you shop at John’s greengrocer, then he is employing local people.

‘They are spending money on local housing, shopping in local shops, and if you imagine the cycle that creates, the money made by John’s business is being kept in the local economy.

‘Small businesses always pay their taxes locally. They are investing their money in the local community.

‘It is really important.

‘Everything from market stalls to small businesses in the city. We can’t forget that market traders are small retailers.

‘They may be under a gazebo but they probably employ a similar amount of numbers of staff as small shops.’

Stewart Dunn, chief executive officer of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said local shops, restaurants and services are a ‘key part of the local community’.

He said: ‘Independent retailers are really passionate about their business and can respond to customer needs on a personal level.

‘When people decide to support independent businesses, the shop becomes part of the local community.

‘Portsmouth City Council has been helping independent retailers by lowering business rates in Southsea – a move strongly welcomed by the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.’

Ian Parmiter, of Parmiters Antiques is one of the organisers of the ‘Love Albert Road’ initiative.

He said: ‘Albert Road is a vibrant and unique area of Southsea which is well known for its individuality and a rich cultural heritage.’

*See the 8-page Shop Local special in The News today