Even if you live in the countryside, I bet you still sometimes shop at Tesco for ease rather than getting your groceries at your local farm shop. It’s quite understandable why people do, after all, you local supermarket probably offers everything you could even need, from fresh fruit and veg, to sports equipment – it’s all under one roof, and it’s temptingly cheap. Businesses need to be competitive to survive competition, and yet our local countryside businesses can’t afford to price their items so cheaply – they have to be competitive in other ways, they have to offer excellent customer service, quality products and a friendly atmosphere, as that’s where the bigger businesses tend to have weaknesses.
Still, in this economy people seem to be happy to sacrifice the experience of shopping, and the support of their local businesses for price – price is the be all and end all sometimes.
But stop and think for a second – do you want to live in a world where business giants rule? Let’s think about food first – the supermarkets have been in the news recently as many farmers are complaining that they aren’t being offered a fair price for their produce, and they are barely making a profit over their base costs. If they try to complain, they supermarkets can simply move to another farm, and leave some farmers without a buyer – and without a business. Farm shops are more committed to offering a fair price, it may be a little pricier, but you can taste the difference when a farmer has put a lot of love and care into producing their product – without the supermarket pressure of having to hit deadlines for massive amounts of stock, they can pay a bit more attention to the final product.
Then of course, there’s the fact that large chain businesses can destroy the need for experts and craftspeople. Take horse riding gear for example – some supermarkets and high-street chains have started to product their own specialist sports gear – but it’s produced in sweatshops, and mass produced, so the businesses who actually have years of experience and training in creating the perfect sports gear are being priced out the market – without a business to keep them going, these trades and skills will be lost forever.
Let’s not forget the economic impact of shopping at larger stores and never shopping at your local businesses. Did you know small and local businesses actually provide a huge amount of jobs in the UK? They support their local economies and help bring wealth and development into their areas. That could mean encouragement for young people to stay in the countryside through their lives, and investment in schools, village and town centre regeneration and budgets for preserving countryside treasures. Having a thriving local economy can really give your area a voice when it comes to council issues too.
The purpose of this article isn’t to make anyone feel guilty about shopping in a supermarket – they are indeed necessary to most of us, but we believe there should be more encouragement to occasionally visit your local businesses and treat yourself to some of their wares and products! You never know, you might find after you try these businesses, you won’t want to shop anywhere else.
Article by Kirstie-Ann, Digital Editor at Edgemere Equestrian Supply Store. http://www.equestriansuppliesshop.co.uk/
OVER TO YOU………………..
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