When I go into a country town the first stop for me is the Bakery.
It is a world of fresh pies, pasties, finger buns, berliners, cream buns and crusty loafs.
If the bread is warm, I’ll settle for spreading an inch of butter and watch it melt slightly before I get stuck in.
Alas, the next time a tourist pulls up in Richardson Place there won’t be the aroma of fresh baked goods wafting from the local bakery, because it has shut shop.
Please don’t tell me we’ve still got the Woolies bakery section because no matter how you describe it, the small bakery in the street leaves the big shops for dead.
It’s about the atmosphere, the smell, the personal service from a family run business.
Yes, you’ll see me buying from the big store and before you say hypocrite, I have bought from both businesses in the past.
Those were the days when I had a choice – now I don’t.
To be honest I have felt a pang of guilt, because generally we rarely miss what we have until it’s gone.
Had I shopped at Pie R Square more often would it have made a difference?
I don’t know – maybe, maybe not.
Should I feel remorse for not shopping local more often?
Am I sick of being told I have an obligation to buy local?
Are they right – should I be more proactive and support our local businesses?
I believe most of us are oblivious to the effects of not buying local.
I know some people I have talked to are sick of hearing the catch cry “buy local, buy local!”
Yet there are small communities all over the world who have fought back and now have thriving small businesses because they have adopted campaigns that have substance and real strategies.
A buy local campaign needs more than the faces of the proprietors splash on the front page of the local newspaper or the odd add on local radio.
It’s about educating locals about the benefits of supporting their own, even if it means spending a few dollars more.
It’s about increasing awareness about the personal and community benefits of choosing local.
It is also about businesses knowing what the locals want.