Supporting Local Business

Supporting Local Business

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Our lives are complex and busy.  We have so many things to think about and get through that we often choose the line of least resistance, and end up paying for convenience.  I believe that it’s time to challenge consumers to support local businesses and think before you spend.

The usual question that springs to mind is either “Why should I?” or “What’s in it for me?”  Ultimately these are fundamentally the same question, and the answers are the same.  Yes, I said answers, because the reasons are so numerous as to provide a compelling case for changing your shopping habits.

Getting involved

  • Save the environment.  Yes, we all hear about this, but the reality is that one truck delivering a load of fresh produce from the market to Meyerton causes much less emissions than 120 cars driving to a supermarket.  Even better, check out a local ‘pad-stal’ or Farmers Market.
  • Spend with a friend.  Many local shop owners are also residents in the area.  Relationships with customers are always important, and loyalty will often result in a sense of gratitude which may be demonstrated by a smile, improved service or even a discount.  We all enjoy being recognised and acknowledged as a ‘regular’.
  • Profits mean investment.  As long as a shop is successful, the owner will continually spend money on improving it.  Any shop owner worth their salt will know that they need to keep offering more and more to stay competitive.  Businesses will also often spend money on upgrading, or at least maintaining their surroundings. So if you support local you are improving local, and the money is being spent locally. This has many positive effects, not least of which is the general improvement of an area where you have invested a lot of money in a house.  A house is, for most of us, the biggest investment we will ever make, and you should be looking for opportunities to increase the value of that asset.
  • Businesses pay taxes.  Most municipalities rely heavily on the income derived from businesses.  If there are fewer businesses they either need to reduce their service levels, or increase the money they collect from residents.
  • Fuel costs are rising.  The cost of a quick trip to the mall has become a real consideration.  The fuel price is already close to R12 a litre and while it’s about to go down, it might soon be going up again. The perceived savings derived from the national chains are quickly looking thinner and thinner, and add to that the cost of the snack and the ice-cream that you never intended to buy.
  • Employment is the key to upliftment.  We all know who it is that makes work for idle hands, and by reducing unemployment a whole area benefits.
  • The ‘multiplier-effect’.  Out of every rand you spend, about 25c goes towards the salaries of the people working there.  Chances are that that money will also be spent in the same area.  Shops provide jobs; Jobs provide income;  Income is spent locally; The local situation improves further and this is how the money you spend in your home town is multiplied in the local economy.

You need to spend the money anyway, so why not spend it where you can derive indirect benefits as well as fulfilling your main needs.  See you at the shops!

Dennis Ryder
Dennis Ryder is the Chief Whip at Midvaal Local Municipality. He worked in Business Banking for 20 years before purchasing a small business which he ran successfully until selling it to focus on his political career. A co-founder of the Walkerville Business Forum, he is passionate about small business and a strong supporter of the theory that small business holds the key to South Africa’s unemployment and economic problems.