Why shopping locally makes a huge difference

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We were featured in the Irish Times!

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This week’s Biscuit Blog is something a little different. We had a big breakthrough this week and wanted to take this slot to share it with you all – are amazing members!

So drum roll please… WE’VE BEEN FEATURED IN THE IRISH TIMESSSS.

An article written by Conor Pope took time to specially mention our marketplace and the great work it’s doing to encourage shopping locally. With out further ado, here’s what was said:

*as seen originally on irishtimes.com

Accessibility

“A big problem for Irish people is accessibility. They really want to shop locally and support the people in their communities – that is almost in our DNA – but there have been issues when it comes to the ease of doing that online and what our platform wanted to do was make that as comfortable and as pleasurable an experience as possible,” says Tara Prendergast.

Her platform is thebiscuitmarketplace.com, an online platform which allows Irish artists, designers and producers get their products online in a comparatively simple fashion.

But in recent weeks Prendergast has been thinking about more than just the biscuit. “During the pandemic, people have had time to think about their lives and have had time to experience all the amazing local businesses,” she says. “And may of those business have started providing services in a completely different way.”

She suggests that a key focus in the weeks ahead should be “about keeping the money in the community, I think that’s incredibly important. Shopping local is obviously on trend now but it would be so simple to sleepwalk back into way we were I think it’s the responsibility of the media and the Government and influencers and retailers and people like me to campaign for local shopping to become an ongoing thing.”

She says people need to be reminded of the difference small acts can have. “I think it is important to keep telling people that if they spend even €5 more in their local community each week it makes a difference to the people you’re spending your money with. When you spend within your community almost half of what you spend gets recirculated in the local economy, it’s not much more than 10 per cent if you spend with a big multinational retailer and how much goes back into your local community it if you spend with a big online retailer based overseas?”

She concludes with a simple message for everyone. “I think what we could all do is look at three things we could in terms of spending that could make an impact on our local communities this week. Just keep it simple and if just 1,000 people were to do those things, whatever then might be, then it could make an enormous difference to people across the country.”

Just three things? How hard can that be?

Keeping it local – what difference does it make?

1. Help your neighbours. If you shop at locally-owned businesses, more of your money stays in your local community because locally-owned businesses tend to buy goods and serves from other locally-owned businesses.

2. A charity bounce. Charities have been hit hard by the crisis. While big companies – or at least some of them – contribute to charitable causes on a local level, local companies are likely to do that more frequently and in a more granular way.

3. The country character. While big retailers and online giants undoubtedly have a role to play, do we really want to strip the heart and soul out of our towns and villages by spending all our money with them? The US main street has been decimated by the Walmarts of the world. There will be no point mourning the passing of the shops and businesses that make Ireland unique if we do not support them while they are still here.

4. Think of the environment. Local shops buying local produce from local farms and selling it to local people leave a much smaller carbon footprint than giant retailers flying products in from all over the world to central distribution centres and then driving them all over the country to us. The locally-bought produce tastes better too.

5. Gizza job. The economy is facing enormous challenges in the months ahead as the aftershocks of the pandemic reverberate. If you shop locally you will support local jobs and everyone wins.

6. Better customer service. One of the things people have discovered in recent weeks is the pleasure of doing business with people who know their names. Many people were starved of human contact during the lockdown and the small interactions with local retailers became a lifeline and those local retailers deserve to be rewarded for that as things get back to normal. Not only that, a local retailer who knows who you are is more likely to entertain your complaints and care about looking after you when if there is a problem. Do you really think some AI bot working out of some server farm in Mongolia really cares if you are having a problem with that T-shirt you bought online?

There you have it – the wonderful words of wisdom from our founder Tara beautifully put together by Conor.

To read the full article click here.

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