Is it me or is there a rather real renaissance in us Barry buyers starting to embrace the sense and spirit of #ShopLocal.
In my view, we are having a bit of a mercantile lightbulb moment.
Mre and more canny community consumers start to someway reject the super straight, strictly business supermarkets, and look more to our doorsteps for our great goods and super services.
Every day more and more of us locals are making the deft decision to buy goods and gear in our shops for economic, ethical, environmental, or essential reasons.
And to boost Barry business of course.
We all know that it’s totally true, that any hard-earned cash handed over in the High Street goes straight back into our cracking community – those living local, and trading in our town.
In fact, recent research suggests that a thriving and prosperous town centre not only sees about 63p in the local economy, but also starts a hike in our house prices too.
So, as we pretty sharp purchasers rightly realise, supporting those already working and living in our town through local shopping loyalty is a given.
But what about all those erstwhile entrepreneurs out there too.
Seeing our community-minded clientele supporting their birth-town businesses makes savvy shop-keepers minded to experiment with the sale of more creative commodities, and encourages innovators to market their new product or service.
For me, there’s also, another fairly fashionable reason for staying loyal locally, and that’s the chance to build a one-of-a-kind neighbourhood.
A trendy train of thought I know but look at our sort-of near neighbours Treorchy trumping us to be crowned winners of the best ever High Street in the UK.
Their quaint and quirky commercial shopping area, that offers the staples and the surreal, is crammed full of the character needed to stand out in the consumer crowd.
I reckon our very own High Street Quarter could give the Rhondda Fawr Valley a run for its money – I’m not saying anything about the seen better days Holton Road.
Although, to be honest, I tend to shop more local in the latter area than the former, as I strongly stay true to supporting shops and services I have loved since back in the day.
Truth be told, I always use the town’s talents from seamstresses to stylists, builders to beauticians, craftsmen to cobblers, drivers to drycleaners, mechanics to medics, and tattooists to traders.
Let us also not forget those that have maximised the relatively recent revival in our much-maligned town’s tourism fortunes.
Barrybados is one of my favourite stores, and David Clemett’s Barry Island Calendar 2020 is happily hanging on one of my walls.
For me, we should also strive to keep stressing the strong shop local sprit to those flocking to our town due to those very helpful house prices, and the beauty of Barrybados of course.
I’ve often warned about the threat of us becoming a ‘Two Sides Town’ so, in my view, encouraging those nice newcomers and would-be Waterfront dwellers to spend in our shops, and on our services, is one of the smaller steps towards community cohesion.
Yeah, yeah, I know, Morrisons is a minute away, Asda is in your face, no one quite does it quite like your home hairdresser and it’s a drag to drop your decorator. I get it.
But there’s lots of talented traders in our town too just waiting for you to start supporting the Gav and Stacey synonymous place you now call home.
Mix and match does it for me – shop local where I can, nip off to a national chain where I can’t…and look to the web now and again. It’s a start!
Now, before I get a gob full, I also totally get that we have to have the actual traders selling the goods and services for us to shop in some areas.
High Street has it sussed, Park Crescent is holding its own but, in my view Holton Road is horrible – worthy charity shops and boarded up buildings do not a thriving #ShopLocal site make.
Surely something can be done to make this patron’s patch not so dark, dank and depressing, and also help boost business for those traders still selling there.
Perhaps we can tap into the recently revealed Transforming Towns initiative that crucially contains £90 million in the project pot.
This includes cash for; town centre regeneration projects, to tackle empty and dilapidated buildings and land, a town centre loans scheme to bring vacant and under-utilised buildings back into use, and green infrastructure and biodiversity.
Call me controversial but, for me, a much-wanted Barry Museum might make a definite difference too – but that’s another story!
Whatever the fateful future holds for our beautiful Barry, staying locally loyal by supporting our shops and services is more than just a slick slogan, it’s a way of life that makes sense.
#ShopLocal is about the spirit…not just the soundbite.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”
Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.