Why shop online, when all you could possibly want this Christmas is available right on your doorstep?
Before you knee-jerk into buying something online this Christmas, or sitting into your car driving 50, 60, or even 90-miles to do your shopping, stop and think for second. Small businesses in the towns and villages through-out our region have to survive all year round, and for many of them, the increased spend at this time of year by their customers can be the difference in them being here next year or not. If that spend goes elsewhere, their futures could be in jeopardy.
Shopping online can seem super-convenient, but is it really? You cannot try something on, or check for that little bit of detail. You have to wait for the courier or the postman, and this time of the year you know how busy they can be. You might not be at home when it comes and you might miss the delivery... Disaster! Then if you have to return it, well, it won’t be there on Christmas morning, but all year round it is an inconvenience. Now we’re all guilty of it. We’ve all developed a habit of going to our phone and clicking “buy now”, without thinking about what that means for our local retailers.
So, look at what is on our doorsteps. Is there really anything you have to buy online, or travel to Dublin for? By the time you put fifty in the tank and spend three hours on the road burning rubber and raking up mileage, will the couple of per-cent you might save at the till really be worth it? Between florists, health food shops, clothing and fashion accessory shops, pharmacies, gift shops, and supermarkets most of us could probably do all our shopping with-in 5 or 10-miles of our front doors.
When it comes to eating and drinking over the Christmas period, why not cut down on the mileage too and give the local restaurant or hotel a shot. Most people will have no idea how just how much these local operators appreciate the support you give them this time of the year.
If you take Strokestown for example, several new businesses have opened their doors in the last 12-months. This is reflected across every small town and village in the region. Ireland is a nation of triers, and our small towns and villages have attracted talented people from all over the world to set-up businesses here, as well as encouraging home-grown talent to take the plunge and establish their businesses. Anyone who is willing to give-it-a-go should be supported when and where possible, and there is no better way to ensure this than by spending what you can with those businesses, when you can do it.
If you absolutely must buy online, then first check to see if a business near you has an online shop from which you can buy. Many local businesses have developed online shops in recent years, and these eCommerce sites combine the convenience of shopping online with the benefits of staying local! So, just stop and think this year before you spend your money, and see if you can get value. More often than not, you can get the same or similar goods and services locally, and sometimes you might find that the headline price is even lower than online.
Hubsy the shop elf is running riot through the businesses of Strokestown, bestowing great value deals and offers upon the shoppers of Strokestown all the way to Christmas. So far, loads of children (and some adults) have found Hubsy and have availed of great value deals in shops through-out Strokestown.
In the week gone by, Hubsy has been spotted in Centra Strokestown, McHugh’s Gift Shop, Forget Me Not Photography, and The Percy French Hotel. Everywhere that Hubsy went, the crowds were sure to go. And great value followed the playful elf from business to business.
The shop local mascot, Hubsy, was brought to life by the Hub Community Café in Strokestown as part of a ‘shop local campaign’ being orchestrated by Strokestown Town Team. Strokestown, for a small town, has a lot to offer. There is a wide array of great bars and restaurants to be enjoyed in the evening time and shops to peruse during the day time. Strokestown is home to several brilliant hair dressers and beauticians which is something a lot of towns of a similar size don’t have.
This year people who might not normally think of staying local for their Christmas parties or Christmas gift shopping are being asked to give Strokestown a chance. The businesses in the town make a really genuine effort to ensure they offer great value to customers both new and old all year round, but especially at Christmas.
Hubsy the shop elf will continue his exploits around Strokestown in the coming weeks. So, if you are in Strokestown and see Hubsy in any of the great businesses, snap a picture and post it to the @Strokestown.ie Facebook page, and join in the fun and excitement that is Christmas in Strokestown.
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The Democrat is a trading name of Oncor Ventures Ltd, a limited company registered in Ireland with a registered address at Bridge Street, Strokestown, Co Roscommon | Directors: Emmett Corcoran & Phelim O'Neill