“You’ve got to get up every morning/With a smile on your face/And show the world all the love in your heart.” It’s hard to argue with those Carole King lyrics.
Here are seven ideas – some obvious, others perhaps less so – about how we can show our local traders some love.
1) Spend some money
Obvious, of course. That occasional piece of cake (go on, go on) in your favourite independent cafe, or a large coffee rather than the smaller one: it might not make you their biggest spender that day, but it all adds up.
You can support that cafe (Blue Belle in Penge, for me) in other ways too: mention them on social media; attend (finally) one of their poetry evenings, inviting a friend; tell others that you like the place and why. Tell the owners you’ve done so? Go on, don’t be shy.
2) Write a review
A locally-based provider of Energy Performance Certificates (you know who you are) helped me out recently. We bumped into each other at a community event to launch this year’s Penge Festival, when he told me that this was a new string to his bow.
Writing an online review, when the time’s right for him, will probably take all of 3 minutes. Sending a tweet that links back to it, including a few hashtags to help “searchability” (yes, horrid word): another 2 minutes tops.
3) Ask that question
While out for a Sunday morning mooch and a coffee in Hayes (Kent), I got chatting to a couple of cyclists. Fit old dudes they were too. I asked if they ever cycled through Penge and if so, did they know SE20 Cycles? The cost to me: nothing.
And that reminds me: after finally trying out the (very good) coffee in the cafe that’s part of the shop, I must go back for a return visit. And tell the owner about the Hayes mention.
4) Use a local supplier
So those online business cards look cheap. Chances are they may be for a reason. And call me sceptical, but is the headline price really the final price, postage & packaging too?
Getting the job done locally may just help your local printer (Press Gang, in my case) to subsidise a community project, for example a calendar that backs high-street traders and helps fund the Christmas lights.
5) Comment on Facebook
On one of those local Facebook groups? If someone’s looking for a curtain-maker, a joiner or a ukulele supplier, adding a comment that mentions someone in your neighbourhood may take you 20 seconds. Tag in the business using the @ sign if you can.
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6) Widen the circle
While in a lawyer’s office recently I noticed (you’d be hard pressed not to see it) a guitar nestled in the corner. The occasional E chord to lift the mood? I asked. What better opportunity to mention Twang and their involvement in Penge’s Business Improvement District.
7) Keep going back
During a catch-up at a local pub with “my” graphic designer, I spotted all the artwork for sale. Another reason to visit again during the day, have a coffee while doing some work and take a proper look.
I’ve already tweeted about the artwork hanging at the Bridge House (there’s a theatre too). Perhaps next time I can take a short video and put it on Instagram.
“Take me on down to the pastures of plenty,” the Brooklyn-born composer sings too. We might not be able to create paradise on our doorsteps… but there are plenty of ways to show our high street some love.
(Image credits: PublicDomainPictures, Comfreak, anSICHThoch3, geralt, Free-Photos, all on Pixabay; madison-grooms on Unsplash; Blue Belle Cafe, SE20 Cycles)
*What ideas do you have to support your local businesses, including “bricks-&-mortar” traders?
Please add a comment. I’ll be sure to respond.*