Aberdeen finds itself, for the first time in a generation, in the middle of an oil price slump that has seen thousands of jobs lost locally. Now, while this will not be news to anyone living in the North east of Scotland, it reaffirms a message that is, once again, worthy of sharing no matter where you live or how buoyant your local economy is.
Simple isn’t it? It’s a message that has been discussed thousands of times before. But when you buy from a local retailer, rather than a national or global business, the profits from your sale stay locally. The money cycle keeps going. I’ll not pretend to argue that buying one cup of coffee from a local independent immediately creates a new job, nor that the local company will employ any more or less staff than the national/global company would do in an outlet but what we can guarantee is that your local independent is more likely to buy local produce from other local businesses – and the money stays in the area.
If you wander into some of the large shopping centres in Aberdeen it’s almost impossible to avoid walking into a shop belonging to a national or global chain. Even the food offering is dominated by chain restaurants and yes, I get it, you probably know what you’re going to order before you walk in because you ate at another similar restaurant before, there’s comfort in that. But I know first-hand how expensive those restaurants are and, in my opinion, the value for money for what I’d class as “fast food” is dreadfully low.
We, as consumers, have been quick to forget the corporation tax scandal that one of the big coffee chains ran into a few months ago. But I’m not even trying to convince you JUST to buy your morning cup of Joe from a local coffee shop (although that would, in fairness be great, thank you) – it applies to loads of things you take for granted: meat, vegetables, bread, eggs, lunch, dinner, a sandwich, arts & crafts stuff for the kids, kids toys, clothes… the list is endless. OK, it would take a little more effort to do your weekly shop going round lots of small retailers but even once every couple of weeks go to the local butcher (trust me, you’ll enjoy your food much better – the quality is night and day compared to the supermarket stuff), pop into a local baker for your sandwich, google where to buy face paints and so on. And the biggest reason to visit these local shops? Local service. A smile from the people behind the counter. An “Oh hello again!” when you come back. I know of at least two local towns that have a grocer that will even deliver local vegetable boxes to your door!
I had a reporter in from the local paper this week and I made a strong point of telling her that, in my opinion, the local press had failed to encourage their readership to “shop local”. It’s a message, and a feature, that is worth repeating every single day.
Caber Coffee is proud to source as much as we can locally, we even distribute Deeside spring water and Deans shortbread. The TV in the training room came from a local specialist retailer (with an extended guarantee compared to if we’d bought it online). At home I always try to get to a butcher once a week and, if we go out for a meal we’ll enjoy an independent restaurant as opposed to a big chain. We buy dog food from the local pet shop. The bikes for the kids came from a local bike specialist.
OK, I’ll never convert you to spend every single penny locally just like I don’t spend every single penny locally. That would take herculean effort. But try it next time you shop, you won’t be disappointed. In fact you’re more likely to be delighted.