Keeping your shopping local

A close friend of mine recently declared that he was not going to shop at the supermarkets for the month of May. When May ended, he decreed that it was a ‘forever’ thing – He was done with the top 5 giants.

Now I am pretty good at not shopping at Tesco or Sainsbury’s for the main reason that I hate the experience – but sometimes I find myself there, by the basic offering of convenience.  But what I found interesting, was that said friend’s declaration had stemmed from anger and frustration, and although more inconvenient he chose to make a stand. He had truly had enough of being ‘sold’ the Sainsbury’s experience and he was protesting through his wallet.

In Bristol recently, in another close knit community of Stokes Croft, there was mass demonstrations after the local council refused to act upon the above board objections that the community had put together. 2500 petition cards, and an overwhelming 96% of the residents voting against the addition of another supermarket failed to stop Tesco landing in a street which was predominantly independent stores. The frustration that the community felt from being ignored unfortunately was seen in violence but this didn’t put off Tesco. The only way that Tesco would be hurt was through the lack of use. But when I asked a local Stokes Croft resident if after they had actively protested against Tesco’s landing, they petitioned through their wallet, they couldn’t claim such commitment.

It is hard to hold strong in a world of the larger temptations, but I think we need to be conscious as to how we spend our time and our money. In our local communities of Borough Market and Wilton Way, we have a strong and loyal fan base which use us as they do their local store. By supporting the local traders of Borough Market our customers get diversity which gives us our unique selling point, which in fold gives us further interest, which provides us more customers which we can show off our uniqueness. We aren’t able to do this without the space in which we can showcase and the regular support of a loyal customer base.

But this isn’t the case everywhere. The farmers market which is on on the Sunday of each week in the school next to Broadway Market is under threat due to lack of use. This market, unlike the hugely busy one on Saturday is the local’s market. It needs to be used by all of us if it is to continue. We need to extend our hand and our wallets to the traders who are offering us a local alternative to the big boys. If we don’t, we will have to resort to the alternatives, and they aren’t nearly as good.

Only a few years ago, Wilton Way was the Wild West, but the community has supported the streets rebirthing, to which the Art In Empty Spaces project has contributed much to. By involving the community and offering a space in which small shops can open, Wilton Way has seen much change and we are thrilled to be part of it. If you look at the amazing street party for the Royal Wedding in April was, you can see how strong our local community is. This support needs further hand and a continued gesture of support which all ultimately benefits all. Every one of us.

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