With Christmas creeping up on us, it’s hardly surprising that over 58% of Brits would rather do their shopping online than hitting their local high street.
Most of us will search for cheap deals from big brands, but what happens when you look a bit closer to home?
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are brimming with independent local businesses that often get missed between the big names. Have you considered shopping local this Christmas?
Where Can I Find These Small Businesses?
We did the leg work so you don’t have too. We have interviewed a selection of the areas finest independent businesses to let you in on their secrets.
Sugar Mango – 37 Southbourne Grove.
Owner, Alison Dewey (pictured), told BH Living:” I wanted to create a shop unique to those found on the high street, but at the same time, affordable.
“Our collection consists of a relaxed stylish collection of clothing, accessories, jewellery, some of which is handmade by myself, lifestyle products and colourful fun stationery. The hand-picked items each season sets out to bring a fun and relaxed, luxurious approach to style.”
Why should people shop with you?:
“When you enter our shop you’re walking into an artistic experience. And because we handpick our stock, we know it back to front. This reveals all the subtly special things about a gift that in turn will make it even more special to the person who receives it.”
“This Christmas, the Sugar Mango team have created a theme of ‘the joy of giving’.”
Eco-natural Products – 8 Cowley Road.
Director, Agnieszka Kaczmarek (pictured) says: “We are an eco-friendly company, we always aim to be better aware of our impact on the environment and animal wealthfare.
“We provide a variety of products: healthier food options, organic food, chilled and frozen, vegan alternatives, plastic free and zero waste options, health supplements, organic natural skincare and free from food.”
Why should people shop with you?
“We have friendly and knowledgeable staff helping with customer queries and we can cater to special requests.
“We aim to have more awareness about recycling than other chain store, we encourage people to recycle and reuse.”
Haskins Garden Centre – Ferndown.
A representative said: “Haskins is a garden centre and retail destination. At this time of year, we have an amazing Christmas shop, where you can really get into the festive spirit, be inspired and meet up with family and friends. Haskins is a great place to visit for a morning out with everything under one roof, free parking and a welcoming, comfortable shopping environment.”
Why should people shop with you?
“Being an independent business means that we respond to our customers on a local level. We ensure that what we do is right for our customers and that we are constantly reinvesting back into the business, to maintain our standards so that we stay relevant for our customers and for future generations to come.
“We are very passionate about offering the best customer service and experience that cannot easily be replicated by chains. We go the extra mile to ensure this is the case.”
Why Should You Shop Locally?
Local businesses are the backbone of your local economy. Research shows that for every £10 spent with a local independent shop, an additional £50 goes back into it. This is because the business owners will spend the money they earn in other local shops, restaurants and pubs.
Having lots of small independent shops means that there are jobs to go around. The unemployment rate in the UK currently stands at 3.8%, which might sound good, but it means over 2.5 million people are still actively looking for work. Buying from these smaller businesses not only gives them the funds to expand and create more jobs, but it makes sure existing jobs are secure.
It saves the polar bears. Buying from shops that sell local goods is an eco-friendly way to shop as it cuts down the length that the products have to travel. Local farm shops, butchers and bakeries also use less packaging on their produce so the waste element is a lot less.
They care more. Small business owners are genuinely grateful for every sale. The money they earn help them take care of themselves and their families, so they’re likely to look after you. When you buy from a chain, you don’t get the same level of customer service.
FSB spokesperson, Nicola Bailey said: “Small Businesses make up 99.9% of all private firms in Dorset. Across the UK, small businesses have a combined annual turnover of £2 trillion and employ 16.3 million people.
Up and down the country, many of these firms are facing mounting pressures from increasing business rates, online shopping and future uncertainty post-Brexit while, at the same time contributing so much to their local communities.
Every day, small businesses find new ways to be innovative, community-minded and capable of thriving in what are undoubtedly challenging times. We urge everyone to go out and shop local this December, to give something back to the small business owners of our communities that give us so much in return.”