Five Ways to Shop Local and Support Small Businesses

Small businesses do it hard.

Already facing competition from big box retailers and online stores before the Covid-19 pandemic, many have caved in under additional pressure from repeated lockdowns and ongoing restrictions.

For others, their survival depends on the purchasing decisions of the Kiwis.

Here is how you can help.

Find out about small businesses in your area

You don’t have to do all you can to help small businesses. In fact, you have to do the opposite.

Many small businesses are struggling to survive in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Richard Balog

Many small businesses are struggling to survive in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you usually jump in the car and head to the nearest mall, you might be missing out on some gems closer to you.

Is there a florist around the corner? A gallery further? A boutique or gift shop that you walk past twice a day but keep checking out?

You never know what they may be hiding.

Buy local produce

They’re generally fresher and often cheaper than what you’ll find in the supermarket, but the benefits of buying locally grown fruits and vegetables don’t end there.

Buying fresh produce at a farmers market means your money goes straight to the producer, while shopping at your local greengrocer supports their business as well as that of the farmer.

The same goes for independent butchers, bakers and fishmongers – you’ll never buy fresher and spending with small businesses directly benefits the local economy.

It’s also better for the planet, because your food travels fewer miles and often comes with less packaging.

Buying fresh produce at a farmers market means that the money goes directly to the producer.

CHRIS SKELTON / Tips

Buying fresh produce at a farmers market means that the money goes directly to the producer.

Use local websites

The internet has brought the world and all of their shopping to little old New Zealand. But just because you can buy from Amazon or Book Depository doesn’t mean you should.

Many local businesses have an online store and for some this is their only retail platform.

Sites like ShopKiwi and Chooice list thousands of local businesses, categorized, and are a great place to start.

Rethink gifts and plan ahead

We’re all guilty of a quick rush to the stores for a birthday present or a last minute gift card, but it doesn’t have to be.

Getting out of the (gift) box and planning ahead could make a big difference with your gift, as well as helping a local business.

Got a coffee lover to buy for? Skip the Kmart mugs and buy a bag of beans or a fresh grind from your neighborhood roaster.

If you get stuck, there are plenty of coffee companies that offer online ordering and will deliver right to your favorite caffeine addict’s doorstep.

Need a gift for a bookworm? Visit an independent bookseller rather than an online megastore.

Prices can be slightly higher (not always), but you’ll often find unique titles and seriously knowledgeable staff.

Make known

While every dollar spent with a local business contributes to their bottom line, it doesn’t cost a thing to recommend them.

If you’ve had a good experience with a small business, don’t just tell your friends, tell the world by writing a review online.

Take visitors to your favorite cafe or restaurant, follow them on social media, share their posts, and tag your friends to enter contests.

Because getting customers through the doors is the only way to make our small retailers and service providers work.


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