10 February 2021

A Shop Local Campaign

Remember that old slogan: ‘Southland, we’ve got what it takes’. They might have been on to something there.

Arguably, it rings true today when we think about the strength of mind needed to commit to the massive redevelopment of our inner city, and the all-important shop local message.

The year has started with a string of positive announcements in the south, and off the back of these, increased levels of optimism seem well founded.

We can look forward with renewed confidence to the creation of an inner city with heart, which positions the city as an attractive place to work and visit, and provides increased opportunities for those all-important catch-ups.

It will attract new businesses and bring destination shoppers back to our streets. I believe the redevelopment will have a massive economic impact on the city and the wider region.

Last year the Chamber helped launch a new campaign in Southland to help stimulate the Covid-stalled economy. The message was simple; “buy local, stay local, and be local.”

About 80% of the Chamber’s membership is comprised of small and medium enterprises, so it’s hugely important we support these businesses and producers – often mum and dad operations – that put food on the table for families, and in turn put money back into the local economy.

The shop local message has definitely resonated with people here in the south. I often think about the outstanding customer care I experience, which helps me feel connected to our city and our region.

Through it all, Southland businesses have become more agile and innovative in response to changing customers’ needs.

We’ve seen numerous examples of people giving it a go, whether it’s a food truck, an artisan sourdough enterprise, or offering a much needed service. Southlanders have stood up and displayed capability and resilience.

While it’s tempting to buy that little something you need online (and yes you can buy locally online), take a moment to think about where your money is going, whether you’re really saving money, and what other downsides that purchase could have.

When you buy local, sorting out an issue with a purchase is way easier. Local businesses are invested in our community, so they know how important it is to offer great service and follow-up.

And in this time of shipping delays and logistical nightmares, doesn’t it make sense to have peace of mind over our purchases? No waiting indefinitely for parcels to arrive from the other side of the world.

But most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough, shopping locally supports our local communities – it’s the only way to make sure the money we spend stays in the Southland economy.

Sheree Carey, CEO
Southland Chamber of Commerce