This weekend across the UK people will be marking
Small Business Saturday by making a decision to support independent traders and local small businesses.

We've championed our local cafes, bars and shops - through Cash Mobs and  Shop Local campaigns on this website.

One thing we can all do is to support our existing independents. In the run-up to Christmas it is the time when more money is spent than at any other time of year - and a time our local shopkeepers rely on to keep open and profitable - proving local jobs and a healthy local economy.

We can all choose to spend our money locally and support the type of local shops we want to see more of.

So This weekend make a point of visiting your local shops and restaurants - support the independent traders at Myddleton Road Market ... and  if you are looking for a Christmas Tree try Ruby's Cave one of the recently shops in Bowes Park.

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Without wanting to appear the curmudgeon, I did find it baffling an amusing that this initiative is trade marked and run by American Express. I would wager less than ten per cent of small businesses could afford to accept their credit cards...I certainly know that we can't. That said, all curmudgeonly thoughts aside it really did and continues to make a big difference to small businesses in a very tough climate!

Thanks Nell I take the point entirely. Personally I much preferred the campaign that was running over the last couple of years under the name "Shop Local Saturday" This started as a ground-up initiative without any funding or backing (we carried an item on it last year).

Now it appears the idea has been adopted by an Amex backed campaign. Whilst the greater marketing budget has increased visibility - and reached more people - it does feel strange that there is a global corporation behind a drive to get people to shop locally!

There was some interesting work done a couple of years ago by the New Economics Foundation (nef) They suggest the issue is not so much about the limited money within a neighbourhood,  but more about what consumers, public services and businesses do with that money. Too often it is spent on services with no local presence, and so immediately leaves the area. Part of the recommendations are to spend locally in cash - not on credit (or Amex!). The nef "Plugging the Leaks" website spells out the details of how to re-generate a local economy from within.

In any event the principle - of spending money with independent traders that you can walk to from home  - is one to support ... and not just on only one Saturday in each year! 

Ha ha....Nell must have been using my lap top Richard, as she was logged in not me! I'd haveput more spelling mistakes in there if I'd known it was in Nell's name.

That really is interesting reading on the NEF website and very inspiring for a local business. And I wasn't seeking to undermine Small Business Saturday, just chuckling at a small irony about AMEX. Most importantly of all though is how buzzing Bowes Park has been this weekend....noy just for Small Business Saturday but also Myddleton Road Market Sunday. Now that really was local!

Thank Mat (er and/or .... Nell?)
... absolutely agree that Bowes Park was buzzing over the weekend for the market and small Biz/Shop-Local Saturday - and the smartest local traders were quite rightly making the most of it too.

I'd be the first to argue that these events have a community impact - alongside the economic effect. Neighbours out together taking over "our high street" meeting and chatting - enjoying the community garden and the gym etc. However the economic impact of money spent locally is vital for the sort of local businesses we want to support.

There is another dimension to this local spend - how official bodies such as the local council allocates funding and what choices they make about where to purchase - or commission official contracts... also what this generates in return.

This bigger spending could really accelerate the economic impact of local spending - so I've been interested in the "Enfield Experiment" which has been reported in the Guardian over the last few months. An article on the Guardian website today by Aditya Chakrabortty identifies that Enfield council has "started asking big businesses, such as utility firms, what they had done for Enfield recently" and is making spending decisions based on the response.

Taken together these active economic choices - whether by individual shoppers or large organisations will determine which areas of the UK are just about surviving ... and which are thriving.  Let's hope Bowes Bark continues to buzz!


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