Shop Local campaigns have been ten-a-penny over the years, delivered by bland paragraphs by well-off businesspeople in grey suits, pleading with their communities to support them and their lifestyle. And for that very reason, they have often failed, because the real message has not been communicated successfully.
The ordinary shopper does not identify with the businessperson in the same way that they identify with the shop front representative, the person they see and greet when they go through the door.
There is often little sympathy with the plight of the business owner, although indirectly it is the businessowner who is creating the employment that so many people enjoy.
However, the focus of our campaign is entirely on the role of the people who front up the businesses in our community. They are aware of just how important shopping locally is, because it is their employment that is on the line if these businesses fail.
The consequences of this is then felt in every household across the community. If businesses fail, the first casualty is often the front of shop employee, ie, yourself, your husband, wife, sister, brother, daughter, son, father, mother. These are the people who we are directly penalising every time we spend outside our communities, by supporting businesses which never do anything to support us.
Our Shop Local, Save Jobs, Save Communities campaign is aimed at preserving the jobs of the people who make your towns and cities tick. The people who commute into Galway each day, who park at the Dyke Road, who eat lunches in the city streets or in the Square in summertime, whose general busy-ess adds to the entire Galway experience, who themselves shop local because they know what effect the meitheal approach has.
But this campaign is not limited to the city.
It applies equally to every community in our area. Local is a subjective concept which is bordered only by our imagination. You all know where your locality is and you all know who you are helping when you keep your business in your locality.
Remember, when it comes to getting a sponsor for our children’s football team or a summer job for our daughter, or a spot prize for our fundraising raffle — all integral parts of Irish community life, it is to these local businesses that we go.
The employees who front local business have a major role to play in the campaign, because it is their attitude and demeanour and skill that will bring you back time and time again to the businesses you support. It is a twin track approach which if married successfully will reap dividends for everyone in this relationship.Our appeal is not one that will be confined to the Christmas panic. We want you all to be mindful of the consequences of how you spend throughout the year, because businesses cannot be seasonal alone.
This week we are featuring some short soundbites from some workers around town who explain why shopping local means they get to keep their jobs and maybe create others.
Remember, by keeping your business in your community, you are keeping your community in business.