Guide to Shopping Local this Christmas
REGIONAL retailers have taken some tough hits this year.
While these resilient, hardworking bricks and mortar business people usually just put their "heads down, bums up" and get on with it, as we head towards Christmas, they could really use our support.
A stagnate nationwide economy and an encroaching online market, combined with the cancellation of Rally Australia, recent bushfires and the ongoing drought mean foot traffic and sales have significantly decreased.
The urge to shop local is not about helping one business to thrive, it's about keeping our entire community thriving and vibrant.
It's local businesses who provide employment, generously put their hands in their pockets for fund-raisers and charities, sponsor sport and importantly, support other local businesses.
As local business grows, money circulates, and opportunities grow - for all of us.
HELP US BUILD A GUIDE TO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING ON THE COFFS COAST.
Martin Wells, president of the Coffs Chamber of Commerce, is asking us all to consider carefully the importance of shopping local.
"This year more than ever local and regional businesses need your support and decision to buy locally," Mr Wells said.
"Businesses of all sizes are now facing choices they wish they didn't need to make. But you can help.
"As we've seen with the incredible generosity of locals in donating $10, $20, $50 or more to support locals affected by the fires, we are imploring you to also consider supporting a local business that employs local staff, that in turn spend their money in local businesses.
"Before you hit "checkout" if you're searching for ideas for the festive season, and indeed year-round, imagine the difference you could make by deciding to "checkout" a local, give them the opportunity to match, or get close to the online and delivery price.
"When you buy locally you aren't just paying an amount for the good or service, there are costs associated with wages (employing our locals, including our youth), along with every other overhead required to keep the doors open so you have options and a thriving local shopping environment."
Expert local knowledge, convenient after sales service, honouring warranties and getting what you paid for (brand security, accurate size and colour etc) are all part of the bricks and mortar shopping experience.
"That extra $10, $20, $50 you spend at a local business could be the difference between them keeping the doors open or not," Mr Wells said.
"Now is your chance to make a difference, this festive season and year-round, don't "checkout" online, "checkout" your local businesses."