The shop local project is an initiative to bring an increase in sales to local business through an informed process of educating the local community to buy products from businesses that are in the neighborhood of where they live and work.
The things we need to do.
The involvement of our local Government, the Judicial system, the Federal and State Governments, our local business networks and our property owners are all required to collaborate in this project.
Currently when a commercial property is vacated it becomes a victim of the ravages of social dysfunction, it does not take long for it to be transformed from an orderly image of an operating functional business to a space covered with ineligible tags placed their by our forgotten drug addicted and damaged youth.
We can protect these spaces and utilise them as Information points. Posters Informing our community of Shop Local with information of up and coming community events services and also businesses in the local area could replace the mess of posters and tags that add to the decay of a shopping strip hit by economic decline. The posters can be created by the people who have got into a bit of trouble and can be created locally. The cost could be federally funded as part of a percentage of GST currently generated by the local business community for the purpose of local marketing.
The local small business community is seriously disadvantaged when it comes to the availability of marketing resources. Local small business cannot avail themselves of mass media marketing unlike the franchise chains, often foreign owned or those transnationals that reside in the large shopping centers, where parking is free and the consumer is not terrorised by the local parking constabulary.
Local Government have the resources to manage and run a Shop Local initiative.
One of the fundamental reasons for the existence of Local governments is to be responsible for the health and well being of the community. The health of the shopping strips which exist within their communities are the backbone of the micro-structure. Those shopping strips are akin to the rivers that flow through an agrarian society. Those rivers have to remain healthy for the benefit of all who live close to the river. The shopping strips provide commerce and employment to the community, the properties on those shopping strips pay rates and require very little in return services, in many areas not even the garbage is collected from commercial properties. They attract people to the shopping strips who pay for their parking and their parking fines. Th local government has a duty of care to the shop traders to maintain the street in a neat and presentable way in order to make it an attractive and safe environment.
Hence the Local Council needs to be involved with the property owners of vacant buildings to ensure they do not become eyesores, conducive to ghetto-ism. The provision of a Shop Local initiative combined with the persuasive powers of local government through a simple keep your property presentable bylaw.
The local Government has a close association with the Justice system and can work with it so as to create access to people who are on community service orders and require activities which will benefit our community. By involving young people in caring for their shopping strip close by to where they live will develop healthy relationships between the commercial traders and this community. A community who are often juxtaposed in the dynamic of our society. These people can be actively engaged in cleaning up a shop front and installing shop local posters, which does not require a great deal of training.
The design and the development of the information presented on the posters can be done in the community run computer access centers for High School students with the required oversight by through the Community Collaborators.
The printing of the posters can be funded by a grant from the Federal Government as part of their contribution back to the commercial sector for all of that Goods and Services Tax that they pay every three months. Let us say 10% of what a shopping center generates should be returned to that shopping strip for the purpose of community marketing. A proportion of the funding can come from the rates paid on the vacant shops and by the state governments as part of a crime prevention and educational initiative.
The return on investment to all three levels of Australian Government through their contribution would be revenue positive, as crime would reduce, GST revenue would increase and commercial property values would increase resulting in increased rates and also parking revenue. Our governments need to change the way they operate and instead of exploiting their backbone they need to contribute to its health and well being.
The council has access to an extensive data base of its small business community that can be used to develop local online directories of goods and services that residents and business can utilise in order to shop locally.
All of which can be created utilising the spare capacity within our communities through the simple act of collaboration.
Shifting the emphasis to shop local will redirect the flow of money into our local community, thereby increasing the employment opportunities there.
The flow on benefits are: Greater local employment opportunities. An increased awareness of local activities for local people. A reduction in crime and dysfunctional behavior. The development of marketing skills within the youth of our local communities.
All of which lead to a society that becomes less reliant upon the government support services such as the police, social services, and the courts.
Local businesses return 80% of each dollar back to the community!
- Shopping local creates jobs. INVEST IN YOUR COMMUNITY! Shops in our town create local employment and self-employment. These people in turn spend in the local economy.
- Support the businesses that appreciate you. Experience personalized service and relationships you can only get from local businesses.
- Local independent shops invest more in our communities. Local businesses are proportionally more generous in their support of local charities, schools, and community events. So supporting local shops means a financial contribution to your community.
- Local businesses sell great products at affordable prices. Some people get out of the habit of shopping locally and are then surprised by the range of products available.
- Shopping locally saves you time and money. You travel less, saving on time and fuel. Especially if you Shop our Local Online Marketplace!
- Shopping locally retains our communities. People don’t like losing businesses and services in small towns but don’t equate this with how they spend their money.
- Shopping locally retains our distinctiveness. Independent businesses create distinctive shopping experiences and stock different products. Local businesses respond more quickly to the needs of local customers, stocking products to meet changing population needs.
- Shopping locally saves the environment. Local businesses often stock a high percentage of locally sourced goods that do not require long-distance transportation, helping to reduce our global footprint.
- Local businesses are for everyone. Most people can get to their local shops easily. This is especially important for the elderly, young people and others who rely on public transportation.
- Local businesses value you more. Evidence from numerous surveys show people receive better customer care and service locally. These businesses survive by their reputation and repeat business, which means you get a higher standard of service.
- Shopping local saves services. Private and public sector services cluster around businesses. As businesses disappear so do hairdressers, banks, restaurants and other businesses.
Together we can strengthen our community.
So next time when you make a purchase, Shop Local!