REFLECTIONS OF A SHOPKEEPER - Shop Local: Your High Street Needs You!

Posted by Louise Humpington on

Well are we excited for what we hope is going to be an awesome weekend! Bowhouse Market is on today and tomorrow from 10 - 4pm so if fancy a trip out that's an absolute stunning part of Fife to visit. 
However, guess what else is kicking off today? #FiverFest We've all been working so hard getting together some incredible deals for you. I'm not going to lie. The past month or so has been challenging. The high street has been really unpredictable with people off visiting or saving up for holidays. It's absolutely fabulous to see everyone starting to enjoy life again and we are so grateful for that. It just has been a little worrying at times when what had become quite a stable pattern is suddenly disrupted.
We know all our customers are awesome and still hugely supportive and that is what totally locally is all about. It's about recognising the reciprocity between a community and its shops. It's also about the mutual respect and support that we have for each other. Whether that is just having a wee blether, being sought out for advice, being a shoulder to cry on, being a sounding board for a new idea, helping another new small business to develop and thrive, or amplifying them and promoting their work. Kindness doesn't cost anything but its impact can be transformative. The economics of kindness are real. When we are good in business, it is good for business. But I see being an ethical/sustainable business as more than that. It's about being kind and supportive not because of what you will get out of it but for its own sake. Because it's the right thing to do.
Totally Locally embodies that beautifully. It's about recognising that all of our prospects are bound up together. When our customers are thriving they are able to support us. When they aren't, groups like The Food Bank and the Toll Centre step in (supported by both individuals and local businesses) to fill that support gap. When businesses are celebrated with publicity and awards, the reputation of the High Street is enhanced. Businesses benefit and individuals in the community are buoyed by a huge sense of pride in what they have helped to achieve. Burntisland High Street has now been recognised as one of the top must see locations to visit in Fife. How amazing is that!! 
What Totally Locally Burntisland and Totally Locally Kinghorn wants to promote is the importance of supporting your local independent businesses wherever you are. For example, if every adult in Burntisland spent just £5 per week from independent businesses it would generate an additional £1.6m for our local economy. But it goes further than that.
Creating networks of support is good for everyone. So by supporting us you support another business too. When you buy our wax wraps from Leaf Natural Food Wraps, you empower and enable her to make spending decisions which support other local businesses. Last week Kim came to collect some brown filler paper that we have been saving for her from our deliveries. That saves her money and saves lots of paper from going to waste.
Whilst she was here she had some business meetings. Then she popped down to The Fix Fife and grabbed some lunch made from ingredients sourced by Tom Courts Burntisland Butchers, and enjoyed a drink from Bad Gal Boocha (who we also stock). Then she went to do some more grocery shopping from Macauley's Fruit & Veg Merchant and C.Sinclair Fresh Fish Merchants, not forgetting of course a loaf of insanely good artisan bread from the Sunrise Bakehouse (which you can also get for delivery through our webshop and in Kirkcaldy from C.Sinclairs second shop).
What I got out of it was an hour of support. An hour where I could chat some things that were worrying me over, with someone who knows about what running a small business is like. Someone and could provide sound advice and be a real tonic. So a business guide and a friend in one. But those connections go on. Kim also makes stamps for Cèic Bottled who get their ingredients for their incredible bake in a bottle kits from us. She also makes them for Raith fruit who supply the fruit and veg for our delivery boxes, and who recently became a customer of Ceic Bottled.
Raiths support and provide ingredients for Trotter's Independent Condiments who then make new products with excess produce to ensure it doesn't go to waste. We sell Trotters in our shop, but they also work with Good Rude Food Superkraut, another of our suppliers. Byam Trotter introduced us to Dan at New Alliance Foods (which is all about celebrating small food producers) and so now we are also stocking Fife-Made, award winning Your Piece Oatcakes and the fabulously refreshing Fior Fruit drinks.
So you see, the connections are like a spider webs. When one person does well, we all do well. 
Inspired by the principle that by supporting one small business you also support many more, for our offerings this year we will be showcasing products from over twenty different small independent Scottish and English businesses as part of our range of deals. Every deal you get from us in the next two weeks will be worth between between £7 - £10. We are using our trade prices to give you fantastic deals, that will enable you to try some incredible new products and grab some great gifts for teachers or fathers day at an incredible price. When they are gone they are gone! 
At Grain & Sustain we have a network over over sixty indie suppliers. So when our community supports us we make sure that we share that support with other small businesses too. We pay fair wages and taxes, we encourage entrepreneurship, we keep money in the local economy and we amplify and promote each other. We all thrive when we live by the principle of collaboration not competition. And it's a way to say thank you! Thank you for your support. We all appreciate it!

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