Shopping local isn’t just for Christmas

This story was published 16 December 2020

Residents of North Yorkshire are being asked to think long term about shopping local.

Jo Foster

The run up to Christmas can be the most important trading period of the year for some businesses, but this year it has been curtailed by the pandemic, leaving some struggling to survive.

Buy Local provides more than 800 businesses and tradespeople, all in one place, so searching for what you need is easy. Whether you need a last-minute Christmas gift, or an emergency plumber!

Businesses and tradespeople can register free, to showcase their goods and services to new audiences.

Many of the retailers on Buy Local are offering Christmas gifts, food and drink deliveries and festive treats, but the Dales Christmas Market has gone one step further by creating a virtual Christmas market.

Organiser Sharon Davis wanted to recreate something as close as possible to a real-life Christmas market on screen, to try to make up for the lack of local markets this year due to Covid.

Sharon said: “Live Christmas markets make Christmas, which is why we thought about the website in terms of the design as well, that was all part of it. We could have just had a site where there were vendors and you could just look at their goods, but we thought actually, how do we, in a small way, translate that same experience from a live market on to a computer?”

Sharon, founder of the Dales Business Women networking group and a business owner herself, is a passionate advocate of supporting the local economy. She added: “What I have been particularly impressed by every year is just the talent of local businesses, I mean people are producing quality goods that are on par, if not better than, things made by the big brands. It might be more expensive, but I think if we can just keep the micro, small business economy going, it’s better in the long run.

“People’s interests are changing, I think as we become more ethically conscious, people want to see where their money is going. So I think it’s even more important now, because for some businesses it’s make or break. If they don’t make a certain amount in the next six weeks or six months, they won’t be able to run their business anymore, so we can all do something small, just by buying one thing from them, to try and keep them going.”

North Yorkshire County Council Leader Cllr Carl Les said: “I make no apology for continually urging everyone to shop locally now, and keep it up next year if you can. We have some really fantastic businesses in North Yorkshire which contribute so much to our world famous identity – now is the time to use them or lose them.”

Sharon added: “I think it's important to think long term. Buying local isn’t just for Christmas, but it would be very easy to go back to buying products from the big guys in the New Year. My advice would be to try to build sustainable shopping habits, even if you start in a small and manageable way, that’s better than going back to old habits. Make sustainable, small changes, for the long term.”

The Dales Christmas Market will be live until 31 December 2020 and Buy Local will continue to support businesses and customers well into the future.

Register your business or search for goods and services on Buy Local.