World-renowned economist Michael Schuman cites supporting local business as a key factor in ensuring a vibrant and thriving town. Schuman, a leading expert in community economic development, states that this allows “control from distant corporate boardrooms to move back into the community where it belongs”.
Haddington has a number of wonderful businesses that rely on support from the local community.
But why is it important to support these businesses?
Keeping Money in the Local Economy
Every £1 that is spent in Haddington has the potential to be re-invested in the local economy up to 5 times.
For example, the shop you bought your greeting card from may need to be refitted, and calls upon the services of a local cabinetmaker. The cabinetmaker may source new tools from the local hardware shop.
The hardware shop may then be in a position to employ a part-time assistant, who in turn buys a breakfast roll from the local café every morning.
The money spent buying that greeting card in the first instance has cycled through several different businesses.
Money spent with national chains may also be reinvested, but often the local community will see, at best, only 20% of every £1 spent.
A key part of the Haddington Vision (2012) is to enhance the town centre, making it more vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, green and enticing for residents and visitors. By keeping trade local, we can ensure ongoing decisions relating to town development are made locally, leading to more valuable relationships and a stronger sense of civic pride and community.
Jobs and Community Benefits
Locally owned businesses provide more jobs – but they also tend to provide better wages and benefits to their employees than chains will.
Local businesses are also more likely to donate to charitable schemes and get involved in events in the community.
Local business and shop owners often know their customers by name, provide a more friendly and personal service and are more open to sourcing products that they request – ultimately customers who use these services have a better experience!
Product Diversity and Competition
Local businesses compete with one another, which allows for the development of unique identities and interesting product ranges. As they are not driven by an overarching national sales plan, the overall experience is one-of-a-kind. For residents and visitors, this provides a fantastic range of goods and services.
Local Character and Environmental Sustainability
Local businesses have a smaller carbon footprint than their chain counterparts as they mostly source their produce/products locally. They are also situated in the centre of towns, rather than on the outskirts or in big retail parks – so instead of jumping in the car, you can just nip ‘along the road’.
As one of Scotland’s beautiful market towns, Haddington has a unique charm that makes it a town that people want to visit and a place that residents are proud to call home. These local, unique shops, businesses with a vested interest and a strong sense of community help the town to thrive. Through local initiatives like Blooming Haddington and work from the Haddington Community Development Trust and Business Association, the town has attracted plenty of public attention, and supporting these businesses will ensure that Haddington continues to be seen in a positive light.
Together we can make a difference by supporting our local businesses.
This is Haddington and we are local!
This article forms part of Haddington’s “We Are Local” campaign, supporting local businesses and the community. Talk to the Haddington Community Development Trust to see how you can get involved.