As the Stratford Press begins preparations for our next "shop local and win" promotion to run at the end of March, general manager Bernadette van Wyk says supporting local businesses is an important part of building a stronger community.
"In fact, the Stratford Press purchases locally, choosing not to use the APN corporate suppliers and favouring local businesses where we can."
Bernadette says all the consumables the office needs are purchased from local store Paper Plus rather than online, while groceries come from the local New World. She also lists purchases from RJ Eagar, Selectrix and Dimocks as having been part of an office drive to shop locally whenever possible.
Sue Davidson, chief executive of Stratford District Council (SDC), says the council's procurement procedures policy is designed to "encourage support of local business for services and products". The policy states that a local provider "will be allowed a five per cent bias of the lowest-conforming tender price" when dealing with services over $10,000. Sue says when it comes to smaller expenditures, generally all catering and stationery is purchased from local suppliers.
"Thriving local businesses are a great asset for all residents."
New Plymouth Council also has a policy on local procurement. "There will be no specific preference given to local suppliers," it states.
Craig Waite, owner operator of Stratford's New World, thinks supporting local suppliers is pretty important.
"In practice we wouldn't think to look further afield. Whether we are servicing our vehicles or buying a new fridge for the staff room, it's all done locally here in Stratford."
Jo-Anne Edgcombe of Moss, Rocard and Smith agrees, naming several services the store has used locally. A benefit of staying local, she says, is that "they understand our schedule and fit around it, both the painter and the carpet layer have come in after hours to minimise the disruption in the store".
Craig says he also tries to use local suppliers for the fresh produce. While any supplier to New World goes through a stringent testing process to ensure that standards are high enough for the chain, owner operators such as Craig can still choose which of those suppliers they use. This means he is free to order produce from local suppliers who have met these standards.
"Stratford Meats is an example of a local business that we purchase a substantial amount of product from," he says. "Coastal Spring Lamb is sourced from South Taranaki Farms and is possibly the best lamb in the country."
Both Jo-Anne and Craig say they also make a determined effort to support local teams, fundraisers and to give back to the community as much as they can. Jo-Anne says that the high street store frequently helps with fundraisers and donations to raffles.
"Pretty much every school in the area has had something donated for a fundraiser, as well as us doing events such as the Whangamomona Republic day, helping the swimming club and other groups."
Bernadette says when the Stratford Press asked for help last year to fill a stocking for a local child facing a Christmas in hospital, she was amazed by how many local businesses gave generously. "It is this cycle of supporting locals who support us in return that helps Stratford to continue growing as a community."
Despite all the positive reasons for shopping locally, not everyone does, says Craig. "I don't know, maybe there are a few Wallabies supporters in Stratford," he laughs.