Reminder to shop locally

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Young Reflections store owner Joy Brown wraps a gift for local shoppers at her Tay St store in Invercargill.

PEOPLE are being reminded of the importance of shopping locally as retailers experience continued losses because of online shopping.

Invercargill City Council city centre co-ordinator Kari Graber said we were all responsible for what we had here – and we all needed to support one another.

“When we shop locally we’re not just supporting a business, we’re supporting a family and a community.”

A lot of people did not realise November and December were critical sales periods for small retailers, she said.

“Having that good spend really makes a big difference for their whole year.”

The number of consumers visiting “bricks and mortar” stores throughout New Zealand had been dropping because people were living busier lives and more and more were choosing the convenience of online shopping, she said.

Although it was convenient to have credit card details saved on digital devices for easy online purchases, not visiting local stores took away from the vibrancy of the CBD, she said.

A lack of interest in shopping locally was affecting small businesses, she said.

Shopping locally drove our local economy, she said. For this reason, a shop local page had been created on the www.invercargillnz.com website.

Southland’s consumers would now be able to search, browse and purchase products online from a range of local merchants thanks to the initiative, she said.

“We want to offer the convenience, but would still like people to come in and use our CBD. You won’t have that connection with someone online that you would if you go into a local store. Here, you get some of the best customer service you’ll find anywhere,” she said.

Southland Chamber of Commerce president Carla Forbes said when we buy locally, a significant amount of that money stays in the community.

“There is visible dollar benefit to our business community and community as a whole – it helps to promote local and regional resilience and the positive effects are far and wide reaching.”

Ms Forbes said aside from positive economic and community benefits, she was also passionate about the atmosphere local retailers created.

“It’s local businesses which give our community its flavour and keep us unique. Our businesses significantly add to the Southland and Invercargill experience – their value can’t be underestimated.”

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