The world has changed so much in the last year (that’s probably the biggest understatement I’ve uttered. Ever.) but what I mean is that, we are all trying to get to grips with what we are calling our ‘new normal’. For example, me and Stressed Husband might have popped to our local pub a couple of times a week when restrictions allow, but now, because of all the palaver of mask-wearing, social distancing etc, it can sadly take away the enjoyment – so we often decide to buy a bottle from the off-licence and slump in front of the TV for a tipple instead. Obviously, we’re not the only ones spending more time indoors as a lot of us are doing things from home now, like working, shopping, zooming friends/family and exercising.
What I found sad recently, was when I walked up to my local High Road and saw so many new businesses closing down before they’d even had a chance to get going. The Big Kids on the block such as the large supermarkets and coffee shop chains seem to be doing okay, but lots of independents are unfortunately pulling down the shutters and jobs and livelihoods are at stake. To see a once vibrant, flourishing community looking like a ghost town made me wonder if there’s any way we can help. So, I asked around some small, local businesses and they gave me some advice so that we can support our home towns as much as we can.
Take it Away
You might find that even your local chippie is now offering a home delivery service to make sure their customers can still get their favourite takeaways. Pubs and restaurants all seem to be doing this themselves, through Deliveroo or at the very least offering a safely worked out click and collect option. We are making it a once a week treat to order something from one of our local eateries – saves me cooking too so that’s a bonus!
Go Forth and Shop
I don’t normally like to think about Christmas until December but with many shopkeepers asking us to start looking for presents as early as we can to boost the economy and keep these local shops afloat, I began in November. If you can’t get to your High Street to buy gifts, see whether they offer online shopping as lots of boutiques and gift shops are trying to improve their online presence with a website. Or they may have a Facebook or Instagram page that show their wares and this way, even if they don’t do online, you can call them, pay over the phone for what you like and ask them to post it. Another good idea is to get vouchers or gift cards – beauty salons, restaurants, cafes and most shops will offer these. This is a great gift when you’re not sure what to buy and also, it’s a lovely treat to make someone happy – doesn’t have to just be for Christmas (and it can also be for you!)
The less we say about panic buying toilet rolls, the better. I have found that over the last few months, my local grocers have come up trumps for me time and time again. When I couldn’t get hand-sanitiser or pasta and flour in supermarkets, my lovely local shops would always have a little stash put away for their regular customers. It makes sense that in troubled times we remember to look after those who look after us all year round – and many of us know our corner shops and independent stores will go that extra mile to provide us with all the essentials, so let’s keep them open and choose them as much as we can, over the impersonal big shops.
Give a Shout Out
If you can’t get to your favourite restaurant but you had a great take-away from them – or your local hairdresser has made you feel and look fabulous with a Covid-safe hair appointment, then let people know about it. Now, more than ever, a positive review online for a local business or service is like gold dust to them. It helps bring in new clients and customers and keeps them open. Long live the local High Street, I say!
Now grab your purse – if there was ever a time to indulge in your love of shopping, it’s now!