Show your local high street some love: 7 ideas (online, offline, out mooching)

“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.

Houses built to the Passivhaus standard using wood maximises insulation and minimises a building’s energy costs

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.

That way Designer Drapes, Appleton & Rowlinson LTD or Twang Guitars will know that a customer is supporting them.  And an extra five seconds: add a “like” to their Facebook page.

>>You may also like… How to encourage reader comments on your blogs: seven ideas

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.*

20 comments on “Show your local high street some love: 7 ideas (online, offline, out mooching)

      • Petra Hendrikse on

        I love this Brian and yes we are all part of our community so if we want it to be or stay so amazing we must show our appreciation by using, by mentioning and sharing. XX

        • Brian McGee on

          Thanks a lot for your comment Petra. I’m glad to have shared this post on Penge Tourist Board on Facebook. Adding my thanks there too 🙂

  1. Shona Chambers on

    Such a good blog with lots of suggestions on how to help local businesses out. It can be hard out there so teaching people who may not think this way how to do a good turn is a great idea. In fact I’m sure lots of small business owners would love to share this to help their own customers know what to do. Will be sharing myself.

    • Brian McGee on

      Many thanks for such a detailed comment, Shona, that’s very kind of you. As is the share on Facebook and the tweet you sent about this blog. Thanks again.

  2. Alison McLean on

    Such a lovely read which makes me want to head for Penge straightaway. I think local traders are blessed to have you amongst them, for what we can’t spend in monetary terms, we certainly can in “bienveillance”!

    • Brian McGee on

      Bienveillance, what a lovely word that is. (As you know, Terry Wogan – no longer with us, forever in our hearts – made regular mention of Penge-sur-mer, so here’s to the much-loved broadcaster with that glint in his eye.) Thanks a lot for the comment, Alison. Penge will be here to salute you, whenever next you’re in this neck of the bois. (“Penge, isn’t that on the way to Paris,” I once heard someone say. Before they changed the Eurostar route.)

    • Brian McGee on

      Thanks a lot for your comment, Tim. Good to see you at the Beckenham Business Association meeting recently. (Thanks for showing us all the Find Nearby function on LinkedIn’s mobile site.) Interview/chat? Sure, let’s have talks about talks…


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