Give lo­cal busi­nesses a vir­tual high five

You can sup­port small com­pa­nies by tak­ing part in the Vod­fone Lo­cal Busi­ness Awards, says Erin Reilly.

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER -

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 Neigh­ 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 neigh­ 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!

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