In Business Centre Blog, News, Uncategorised

If you’re anything like me you’ve probably felt intimidated by an independent shop at least once in your life. Stepping into a locally owned retailer for the first time is a step into the unknown – you don’t know what the stock is going to be, you don’t know if the price point will turn out to be a few steps above your station and, even if you just stepped inside to keep out of a sudden torrential downpour, you may well end up feeling awkward British, and apologetic and buying the cheapest item you can locate to avoid offending the smiling shopkeeper.
Then again if you truly are anything like me you will have discovered the joy of independent shopping. For me the defining moment in independent shopping came at the consistently fantastic Spillers Records in Cardiff which proudly names itself the oldest record shop in the world. Shoppers in Winchester are equally well placed to shop independently with an impressive array of independent retailers across the city with a world of expertise that they are waiting to share with you and it’s time to take the plunge and cross the threshold of that independent you have been eyeing up since you moved here but never quite felt brave enough to enter.
Shopping in your locally owned outlets has benefits beyond filling your head with new levels of knowledge on your favourite products and projects. Every pound you spend in a local store circulates money back into the area rather than letting it disappear off to the super yacht of an expatriate currently lounging around on the French Riviera – economists differ on the exact percentage of your purchase that gets recirculated but even estimates of 63p staying local from indies compared to 40p from chains are not to be sniffed at. Spending locally fuels jobs growth, keeps local suppliers in business, can be more sustainable as products have often travelled fewer miles and gone through fewer processes of being wrapped in disposable packaging.
Calls to shop locally are made frequently by everyone from Mary Portas, to shopkeepers, to Hampshire Chronicle columnists, and as much as I know you would like to do a good thing and shop locally this summer but I’m also well aware that even the best of intentions can be hard to act upon when you live a busy life and have an embedded routine of buying your wine in Waitrose and your novels on Amazon. Fortunately July is independent retail month and Winchester independents have joined forces to offer the ‘Festival of Independents Privilege Card’ co-ordinated by Winchester BID (Business Improvement District). The card entitles the holder to a whole range of treats, perks and discounts across the city so now you can buy your wine in Toscanaccio and your novels in P & G Wells, feel good about yourself and enjoy an extra little something on the side. It’s a win win win situation. Visit to download your privilege card and find out more!

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