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Thirteen ways to support the Stroud economy in a cost-of-living crisis

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A lot of people are wondering how they can support our town at the moment – here are a few ideas I’ve come up with.

  1. Maybe you haven’t found your favourite independent shop yet. Try visiting a street you don’t normally visit and check it out. It’s amazing how we all get into taking the same route and buying the same things, almost on auto pilot. (This is why supermarkets change the display around – to make us notice things we haven’t seen before)
  2. If you visit a small business and have a great experience, write them a five star google review, tag them in a social media post, send them a message, tell them. If they are having a bad day, cut them so slack. It’s probably temporary. 
  3. Shop local wherever you can, keep the cash circulating in the local economy and keep the community vibrant and sturdy – “it’s only temporary” and we all want a great town to visit when things pick up, which they will. 
  4. De-cluttering is great for the soul, take your clean, fabulous clothes and accessories to your favourite charity shop so they can be enjoyed again by someone else. It’s an easy win win! One of my faves is Rasmachaz, who support the refugee kitchen and other small volunteer led refugee projects in Europe. There are so many great charity shops in town. And a decluttered space is so much more pleasant to live in. 
  5. Ask for recommendations – business owners and staff are in town all the time and will have their favourite cafes and boutiques – if you love their vibe, you will probably love their taste in shopping and eating too
  6. Pay with cash – this way the business owner has immediate access to your payment for business expenses and wages and doesn’t have to pay huge fees to card payment processors or wait several days to get the payment into the bank.
  7. Take your own bags – packaging is a huge expense for small businesses, especially for those using paper bags. Many shops will welcome a return of barely used paper bags for re-use rather than you putting them in the recycling. Keep your shopping bags by the front door and take them every time you shop – and help the environment too!
  8. Follow local businesses on social media, share their posts and stories on your timeline, write encouraging comments and like their posts – this is great for the algorithms, giving them a much wider organic reach so more people will see their posts, (most don’t have a marketing budget). 
  9. Tell the person in the shop exactly what you are looking for– if they don’t have it they might know somewhere locally that does. 
  10. Bring your family and guests into town to visit the local shops, businesses and markets. Show them everything you love about living here and get that lovely warm glow of feeling proud of where you live. Recommend your favourite businesses to work colleagues.
  11. Buy gift vouchers from shops if you can’t decide what to give as a gift. 
  12. Make shopping local part of your weekly routine, so you don’t have to think about it, it’s just “what you do”. Make it a new habit. Enjoy meeting people and hanging out. Have fun. Make new friends. It’s a really friendly town. 
  13. Remember, with community, as with everything, you get out what you put in. Get involved, volunteer, pay it forward, be open to opportunities, check out what’s going on. 

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