You only have to take a trip to the city to realise how spoiled we are here. Go over east and you can spend an hour or more just getting to where you need to be. Guess what? I’d never make it anywhere on time. I know this, I’ve lived in the big smoke and I remember having to set the alarm 45 minutes early to accommodate the lovely (not lovely) trip to work with thousands of other people. Same time, same place, hoping for non-crazy drivers…. talk about stressful!

Now here I am, back in Westport. I enjoy the wide, straight roads predictably crossing each other and knowing I can jump in my car and be wherever I need to be in five minutes.

Literally.

Commute times aren’t the only benefit of living here.

When it comes to shopping, there are some things that I really enjoy. Here are some of the pro’s of shopping in a small town –

  • Our town centres have a mix of independent shops offering a unique range of products.

  • Shop staff know your name and you can catch up on conversations while you browse.

  • They know what their regular customers like and can pick out items that would suit them.

  • You can walk into a shop and say “It’s so & so’s birthday”. Chances are, the staff will know exactly what they would like.

  • You can find hand made items that give a local vibe, sometimes they are an original one-off.

  • It’s basically impossible to get lost or lose your car park.

  • It makes you feel good to support family owned businesses and you put money into the local economy.

That’s just a few things that I love about shopping locally.

I know, I know… some of you are saying –

“But I can never find what I want” or “It’s cheaper online”…

Yes, of course you can jump on your mobile and order direct from the factory up North or overseas. But there is something wonderful about being able to keep your money where you live because with every dollar spent here, it makes our towns more vibrant, interesting and fun! I know that many local businesses sponsor our sports teams, clubs, events and non profit organisations. They can’t do that if we don’t support them.

I like knowing where my money is going and I love the experience of visiting our local shops and businesses. It continually surprises me with the selection of products and new ideas that keep popping up here… us West Coasters are a great bunch of “Think-outside-the-box-ers”!

Anyway, that’s just my two cents but if this has persuaded you to venture out and explore the independent shops in your town (or suburb… or region…) do it! Share the love and tell your friends!

One small action multiplied can make a big difference.

I’ll just leave you with this.

When you can, buy local. It really does count.