If you're like us, it's the first option every time. Yet Sir Terry Leahy, one of the greatest business minds in the UK has said that the closure of small shops is 'progress.' Progress? We're sorry but we fail to see the progress in transforming high streets into uniformed shopping districts, packed with big brands.
Marisa Leaf of independent food delivery service, Hubbub, also responded to the ex Tesco chief's claims, telling us, "The British high street is not just a nostalgic 'nice to have', it's the beating heart of our communities. The closure of small independent shops means less money invested in our local economies, less choice and control over the food we buy, and an impoverishment of the places where we live and work. Progress isn't just about moving forward; it's also about choosing the right path."
Here, here, Marisa. We've put together a list of six reasons why we disagree with Sir Terry.
Independent local shops provide better quality products. Simple. This is because most of the products will have been sourced locally and if it's food will therefore be fresher and filled with more nutrients. These locally grown and reared foods are more likely to be organic, free range and grown in soil that's used to nurturing diverse crops, which is better for the food and the environment too.
By shopping at local farmers markets you can actually get to meet the farmer who has grown, produced and packaged the product your buying. It gives you the opportunity to find out any information about the food you're eating. Rather than relying on a supermarket that is more interested in its profit margin than your health or preferences. You just have to look at the horsemeat extravaganza from a few weeks back to see this lack of care in action.
By using your local shop and seeing the same shopkeeper each time you visit, you can build up a relationship and a sense of community spirit. This also means occasionally you may get free stuff. Just the other day, we popped into the local shop for a banana. We went to the till to pay, only for the friendly shopkeeper to say,' have it for free.' He knew we would be coming back again to spend more money another time, so he can give out kind gestures like that, after all one banana isn't going to make that much difference at the end of the financial year. This is something that would probably never happen in a supermarket. Staff will be disciplined and even prosecuted for giving away free stuff for no reason at all.
Supermarkets sell the same products all over the county. For instance, if you go to a supermarket to buy ketchup, chances are you'll either come out with Heinz or an own brand version. Whereas local shops will be supporting local produce, the ketchup you buy from a local shop could be one you've never heard of but comes in a locally produced bottle filled with fresh tomato sauce from tomatoes that have ripened on the vine rather than on a lorry. The same goes for fashion, you might pick up a handmade item that's truly unique from a local shop, whereas big branded stores mass produce the same items for sale all over the country
The cost of ferrying, flying and driving food from farms to the shop floor costs the environment £2.1bn a year. Look out to buy from local shops stocking local produce. This would help save the environment and stop tons of pollution being needlessly dropped into the skies every time a plane flies your New Zealand raised lamb over from the other side of the world.
By supporting your local shop, you'll be supporting the local area too. The money that the shopkeepers make, they'll put back into purchasing more local goods, which will fund local people. This can help bring up the wealth of the whole area. A big supermarket would do the complete opposite. The profits it makes will more than likely go into launching yet another store somewhere hundreds of miles away from you.
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