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How to support local businesses coming out of lockdown

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

Supporting local businesses is important, now more than ever. Find out how you can support those struggling to get back on their feet after lockdown. 

If there’s one positive to come out of lockdown, it’s the new appreciation for our local independent shops. Not being able to pop into our local pub for a drink after work, or to the corner shop for a last-minute birthday gift has made us realise how much we used to take for granted. 

Now lockdown restrictions have all but disappeared, it’s important to support our local businesses and give them a much-needed boost, to help keep them running. Here are some ways you can show your support and help the local economy. 

Try local first

During lockdown it’s been easier to turn to online shopping from big sites like Amazon, but now we’re able to go out, it’s time to start shopping locally instead. It may cost a few more pennies, but being able to browse products in person and support an independent business (that often sells things you won’t find anywhere else) is worth it. What’s more, you get to take the products home the same day - no more waiting around for delivery. 

Buying groceries from your high-street shop rather than a large supermarket might not be practical every day, but stocking up on items like fresh fruit and veg from a local greengrocer will mean you get the pick of the freshest goods, and you don’t have to drive out of town either.  

Plan ahead 

If there’s nothing you need to buy right now, then prepare for upcoming birthdays and special occasions like Christmas in advance. Spend your money in local shops on gift cards so the recipient can choose something they love. Lots of shops sell gift cards, or you could ask to buy a voucher for a meal or for hair and beauty services. Some shops will take payment over the phone or online, so you can buy a gift card or voucher from a shop in your friend’s local town. Be sure to check how long they’ll remain valid for first. 

Buy direct 

There are lots of third-party sites that allow you to compare services or to order food, but going directly to the service provider or restaurant will mean they don’t lose money in fees. Instead of using established sites like Just Eat or Uber Eats, for example, call up your local and order directly from them. If you’re a regular customer they’ll get to know you and may end up offering you a discount or free side dish for your loyalty. 

Spread the word 

If you’ve had fabulous work done by a tradesperson or had a tasty meal and great service in a pub, then show your appreciation by telling your friends and family. Word of mouth is a great way for businesses to gain more customers because people trust what they hear from the people they know. 

Leave reviews 

It’s too easy to leave negative reviews, so why not start leaving positive reviews instead? Sites like TripAdvisor and TrustPilot are all visited by people wanting to check out a business before they spend their money. It doesn’t take long to support a business in this way, and it costs you nothing. 

Get social 

Use local groups on Facebook or leverage your Insta or Twitter accounts to share the pages of a local business. Like them and engage with their posts. This will help to build their following and could result in new business. If you run your own business, you’ll find you’ll often get reciprocal likes and shares, so it’s a win-win, and again, costs nothing. 

Support innovation 

Lockdown has seen local businesses trying new ideas to drum up sales. Local retailers have been forced to supply their services in different ways and some have been so popular that they continue to do so. For example, cafés and bars may be offering a takeaway menu when they didn’t previously, so give them a go. Remember to leave them a good review and spread the word if you have a positive experience. 

Try online classes

Some people may still be feeling unsure about venturing out, and some may not have the time, but you can still support independent businesses by engaging with their online services. Lots have sprung up over the last year including online exercise classes, cookery classes, and even wine tasting. Social networks are a great place to keep an eye out for small businesses advertising these services. 

Take a staycation 

Spend your holiday in one of the many beautiful spots around the UK. Pack clothes for every season, games to keep you entertained if your plans are rained off, and you’ll have a great time discovering new areas and supporting local businesses at the same time. 

Stay responsible 

Lastly, support your local businesses by remaining socially aware, keeping your hands clean, and wearing a mask when they ask you to. It could mean the difference between them being able to stay open or having to close down again. 

Fancy exploring the UK to support the local high street? Discover the top 10 trendiest towns and cities. 

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

open sign on shop door open sign on shop door