Shop Local

Shop Local, Shop Proud!

by Northern Life

Shopping at local markets benefits your community, the environment and your bank balance.

Once upon a time, the market was the heart of most towns but in recent decades this is not the case. The markets have been overtaken by the rise of supermarkets. Where in the past we might have gone into town and browsed the market stalls now the supermarkets are pulling in all the customers.

In 1980 there were 300 big supermarkets, by 2007 there were 1,500 and that accounts for 85% of the groceries market. If you include the branded convenience stores dotted about high streets as well then the number of supermarkets has risen to 8,151 in Britain which then accounts for 97% of grocery spending.

That doesn’t leave much left for the other independent traders; in fact it leaves virtually nothing. Markets are therefore in decline.

They have a long history and an identity with the town and yet nowadays people would much prefer to shop in the supermarket than the traditional market but this means that the local economy suffers. It’s natural that people want convenience but without the local market, local food and local people are not being supported. There are plenty of great markets and with some supermarkets taking a different advertising strategy and going back to their market roots, it seems that now is the time to shop local and shop proud.

It’s not just markets either, real food and real produce is all around you. From the locally sourced butcher, to the pub that buys from the butcher to the market that trades with the butcher.

In a world that is fast-paced and still accelerating, shopping at your local market is the back-to-basics future we all need. To support your community so that the supermarkets do not swallow everything whole and to support the local farmers and butchers who’re supplying, fresh, organic produce for you. With regards to meat, they know where it came from, a farm in Lancashire or Yorkshire and not a factory in Romania, which can give you complete peace of mind. It isn’t just the recent scandal though that might point you towards the market stall and not the supermarket aisle. It’s the quality of products, the support to your community and the atmosphere. Going to a market is much more relaxed, people chat and the traders on the stalls are always happy to help. They don’t have millions of pounds on advertising to spend, all they have is word of mouth and usually that’s their own, chatting to customers and helping them with a friendly attitude is their ultimate weapon in the competitive trading world.

It’s about being proud of where you live and supporting your community. In the north we’re down to earth, practical people, with a friendly ear and a skill to share.

Times are tough for local businesses, the economy is struggling and no one has any disposable income anymore. What they do have is for the necessities only. There’s a preconception that if there’s a deal or two at a supermarket then you’re getting a real bargain. The truth is that most often than not, it would have been cheaper in the first place from your local market anyway. Supermarkets are for the rushed, get-go people who impulse buy everyday rather than do a big shop which will last you a good couple of weeks. For the market, you can stock up on fresh vegetables and meat, all locally sourced food. Relax, chill out and enjoy your shopping experience, plan your meals and get tips from the traders with how to cook them.

Markets are right at the heart of market towns and this should be celebrated and recognised for the part they play in local economy, not only by encouraging people to shop locally and attract visitors but also showcasing local produce and supporting new and small businesses which create job opportunities for local people.