Why We Shop Local, and Why You Should Too!
There has been a major shift in business campaigning over the last year. Whether it’s because peoples pockets are getting tighter or we’ve become accustomed to a new type of consumerism – but businesses are in need of local support and we can feel it!
The unpredictable industry of tourism is continuing to struggle, with many small towns still missing the pre-pandemic buzz that drove locals to hide away from the crowds for days on end.
For many, the dream of settling into a comfortable community focussed role as small business owner has ended prematurely, with the uncertainty of the economy and consumers leaning further in to purchasing from bigger corporations.
At WorkLife we take pride in facilitating events for creators and community organisations, using local talent to design and promote our spaces, and believe in using our platform to spruik the amazing businesses that also call the towns we operate within, home.
We have started to see more private, council, and government funded initiatives around us urging people to shop locally and support their local businesses. Initiatives such as Wollongong’s ‘We Shop the Gong‘ campaign, privately founded business ‘Why Leave Town‘, and the ‘Love Local Shoalhaven‘ encouraging locals to shop and play locally over winter.
Shopping local is one of the easiest ways you can ensure money continues returning into your community, sometimes referred to as the ‘boomerang dollar‘ effect. An American Express survey found that small businesses are re-investing 42 cents from each dollar made from annual turnover back into their local communities. This means more money being funnelled into provincial causes, businesses, and staff just by going local.
For 62% of consumers, they acknowledge and believe that small businesses are what give their community it’s charm and identity. To maintain this charm, it is integral that as local members of the community we are utilising the amenities within reach. With charm comes reputation and intrigue. For many small towns, the carefully curated cafes and boutiques are what keep tourists interested and spending more money at attractions and accomodation within the area which allows them to continue operating within the quieter and cooler months for locals to enjoy. With the domestic tourism market being affected by increasing interest rates and inflation, travellers are being limited with spending and disposable income, putting more pressure on us to ensure these charming businesses can continue to operate.
Although most small towns are seeing an increase in population, the severe shortage of workers essential to businesses depending on tourism continues to fall. It became standard to see businesses with signs saying “closed due to staff shortage” on some of the busiest days of the year. We are still experiencing a 20% decrease in employable labour since 2019. Many individuals chose less risky positions during the pandemic, often with better pay. By shopping local, businesses have more flexibility to pay staff a higher wage, and remain open.
So with winter still looming, and many still living their best Euro Summer lives, let’s take a moment to plan a staycation, a date night at the towns newest (or oldest) bar, take the kids to the local animal park, or go whale watching! It doesn’t have to be school holidays, or even an long weekend. But one day out can make a vast different to the lives and communities of local business owners trying to make it to another Summer trading.
If you’re unsure of where to start, here is a list of just some of our favourite local businesses. You can also find an extensive list of activities for you and the family over at South Coast Experiences.