Give local businesses a virtual high five
You can support small companies by taking part in the Vodfone Local Business Awards, says Erin Reilly.
Close your eyes and mentally take a wander through your neighbourhood. There’s George, the friendly lawnmower man who’s always smiling, even to strangers.
There’s Sam who owns an organic cafe; his pies are the best you’ve tasted. You’ve found many a gem at Patricia’s independent bookshop, and it’s about time you booked a haircut with Chloe!
To help locals show their support for the small businesses just down the road from their place, Vodafone and Neighbourly.co.nz are encouraging Kiwis to participate in the Vodafone Local Business Awards – an opportunity to recognise the vital role businesses play in your neighbourhood.
Neighbourly Co-founder Casey Eden says ‘shopping local’ forms the backbone of our communities. ’’New Zealand needs local business, and everyday New Zealanders need to support them,’’ he says. ‘‘Without it, our communities would look like ghost towns, and our country would be significantly worse off.’’
So why is buying local good for the consumer?
Keep it in the community The more you spend locally, the wealthier your community will become. Local businesses often hire local staff, so not only are you exchanging money for goods or services, you’re also helping support families who live just down the road from you – maybe even their kids who go to the same school as yours. Community connection
Local businesses offer more personalised service than generic chain stores because their success comes down to customer satisfaction and word-of-mouth marketing, rather than a mental association with a big-budget brand. They’re more likely to actively seek out a positive oneon-one rapport with their customers , compared with bigger companies .
What goes around comes around
Businesses with a local presence are more likely to give back to their communities, like providing prizes for the local school’s fundraiser or sponsoring new uniforms for the local cricket team, because they’re more emotionally-invested in their neighbourhood.
Responsible shopping Chances are the fruit and veges you buy for the week will be cheaper at the local farmers’ market than if you bought them from the supermarket. An added bonus is that many small farmers pick their produce fresh from the farm or grow organically, so not only are you helping your wallet, you’re helping your insides too.
Friendlier communities together
The more vibrant, diverse and friendly a community, the more locals will want to be involved in it. And it’s not just limited to buying local; it’s also about attending events, joining committees, supporting big sports matches and voting in local elections.
❚ The Vodafone Local Business Awards are running until October 30. Find out more by heading to neighbourly.co.nz/ vlba. You could help a local business win great prizes - and pick up goodies for yourself.
Get your coffee fix and support your local cafe at the same time - it’s a win, win!