Last week, my editorial talked about the importance of shopping locally. This week we are taking it one step further.
The Stratford Press is launching the Go Local campaign, aimed at championing local business and helping our community get through the devastation caused by Covid-19.
We are all familiar with the term essential worker, as it referred to those working throughout level 4 restrictions to keep our country running. From supermarket staff, to farmers, medical workers and cleaners, essential workers were those who we all needed to help us get through.
But in this next stage — we are all essential.
Each one of us in our community is essential when it comes to ensuring our town, our district and our people are able to carry on through these difficult economic times. Essential worker or not, we are all essential purchasers and consumers when it comes to helping our local economy grow.
Every time you need to purchase goods or services, make sure you consider local businesses and people first.
Ask yourself — is there a local retailer or service provider you can use. If so, please do.
The money you spend then stays in our own economy, it pays the wages of people in your town and then gets spent again in the local community.
Shopping locally doesn't mean eschewing big box retailers necessarily either. Big box retailers in your own town still employ local people, pay rates to the local council and so also bring a positive benefit to your community.
Businesses themselves have a role to play in this, and you can hold them accountable on it. If you are choosing between two local cafes to get that takeaway coffee from, consider asking where their suppliers are based. Do they have their own shop local policy in place — do they purchase their ingredients locally?
When you are in the supermarket, look at the labels carefully. Are your items from a Taranaki supplier or have they been trucked across the country? Who are you supporting when you spend your dollars?
Not all businesses have a bricks and mortar presence so please include local farmers markets, honesty boxes and farm gate stalls when you are stocking up on fresh produce.
Give your business to those who support other local businesses and together we can build our economy back up.