Why Community Businesses Are Essential To Our Economy

The country’s retail economy has been drastically reshaped by the international health crisis. In addition to the immense challenges that have led many brick and mortar retailers to close their doors, developing technology, essential store redesign to accommodate contagion concerns, and new customer expectations, all of which have come together within a brief period of time, have each prompted retailers to rethink their values.

One of the most important values being placed at the centre of a new retail landscape is locality, that is the value of community and those nearby. Periods of lockdown brought about a number of campaigns for small, independent businesses, which garnered support from social media companies like Facebook, rallying alongside residents to ensure that they survived. Now, as we shift into a post-pandemic society, this support is continuing, even growing. Here’s why:

Integrated Prosperity

A historic and major concern with national businesses situating themselves in communities is that much of their business and, importantly, profits, are taken elsewhere. Suppliers, for example, are often sought outside of the community and contribute little business to the local area. Alternatively, community businesses, those who seek to stock wares of local produces and work in tandem with other community-based enterprises, stimulate the local economy.

This integrated prosperity is especially important, as Mark Lumsdon Taylor notes, for rural communities. Following the COVID pandemic, these more sparsely populated communities began to rely more greatly on local businesses, those that keep a more significant amount of money within the local area, as well as meet the specific needs of community members. 

Local Identity

During the country’s various lockdowns, local, independently run businesses were able to more readily respond to the needs of those around them, stocking the items that residents required and listening to the service demands of the area, often via online groups, as well as in-store. This has been an exemplary example of local identity and why it is drastically important for regional economies.

Culturally, community businesses celebrate local identity, showcasing regional products and working with designers to celebrate the aesthetic of their location. This retail personality works to the benefit of both parties. The business prioritises the community, including its specific identity and requirements, then, in return, the community considers the business as an integral part of their region.

Environmentally Considerate

Businesses whose reputation and interest is inextricably linked with the local community are far more likely to be environmentally considerate being held accountable by those living immediately around them. As the climate crisis continues to place pressure upon both individuals and companies to better improve their impact on the environment and reduce their carbon footprint, this accountability is hugely important.

Businesses that are less invested, or accountable, in their local area are unlikely to make the same green decisions, both reducing the quality of life within the community and expecting local residents and their council to foot the bill. Fortunately, local economies are being driven by green demands and, as a result, regionally focussed businesses are better prospering for their greener identities.