It’s crunch time for independent vegan business

I will sound like a broken record with this blog, but this needs to be repeated.

Please make an effort to spend your money with independently-owned vegan businesses.

The health of our communities depends on it.

A Guardian piece from a few years back states that when we spend £1 with a small or medium-sized business, 63p stays within the local community. However, when we spend that pound with a larger business from outside the community only about 40p stays in the area.

23p might not sound a lot but it adds up when we start to look at amounts spent on High Streets and in stores around the UK.

Estimates are usually way above £300 billion when it comes to calculating how much money the UK spends with bricks and mortar stores each year. Imagine if we were able to keep a larger chunk of that money in our local communities?

Indie business owners would have more cash flow to secure their longevity, pay fair wages to local people, spend their profits on other local products and services, and add to the cultural wealth of their neighbourhood.

Spending money when and where you can with local business helps keep your community thriving and drives up social capital.

Remember when I started London Vegan Potluck in Brixton? It was a local independent business that gave us the space to use. It was Ms Cupcake being supported by paying customers that allowed them to let us use their resources for free.

London Vegan Drinks is a long-running and much-loved social event hosted in Karamel, an independent vegan bar and restaurant in Wood Green. If this venue closed due to lack of customers, I would be seriously concerned for the future of this event.

When you shop at our FGV sections of Venn Street Market and Walthamstow Sunday Social each week, you are directly supporting the livelihood of local businesses. Business that have bills to pay. Businesses supporting families. Business dealing with the same outrageous rental costs as the rest of us.

If you have money to spend on groceries, products, and services it is crucial to the ongoing social and financial health of our communities that you spend as much of your budget with locally owned businesses.

I know it can be tough as a lot of us are time poor and an one time only weekly shop saves effort, but here are some simple suggestions for keeping a little bit more money local:

  • If you pass a fruit stand or independent green grocers during your daily commute, make this your shopping location of choice for fruit and vegetables. Do this once or twice a week to avoid having to cary too much on public transport
  • Make a promise to visit at least one independently owned vegan eatery once a month if you can afford it and go through with your plans. Start a dining club or group to join you in the pledge
  • Need a haircut? Look on local supermarket message boards and online chatrooms for experts who offer home haircuts at reasonable prices. Choose this over budget salon chains
  • Start a buying co-op on your street or with nearby friends to get pantry staples such as flour, tinned food, and bulk items at greatly reduced rates from Suma
  • Drink tea and coffee throughout the working day? Find a locally owned café even if it means having to go slightly out of your way to bypass a chain business
  • Support local and indie book stores. They are disappearing at breakneck speeds and we can stop this in our neighbourhoods. If it is gift giving time, buy from a bookstore instead of online retailers. Local bookstores will often sell other gift ideas too
  • If you must shop online for time restraints or mobility reasons, buy from independent retailers via The Hive. This hub lets you shop for music, books, DVDs, and gifts before fulfilling your order from High Street stores
  • Pledge to visit a vegan market at least once a month. They are now all over the UK
  • Take time to shop with vegan grocery stores. If you are unable to visit in person, many stores now offer delivery to local residents

In closing, do what you can and when you can to keep cash in your community.

It really is the least we can do as active community members.

Written by fatgayvegan

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