Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Can we save local businesses?

I am just reading an interesting article in the Irish Examiner written by Joe McNamee about how many local businesses are closing in Cork City. And he is right - small businesses that have been serving the local community have almost vanished. I know, you will say, hello we have a recession, but can we really blame it on the big bad R?

What can we do to help? We have amazing small retailers - not only in the food business - who are worth being saved. My heart bleeds if I am imagining that my favourite butcher O'Flynn in Marborough Street could close. The expertise and quality I am getting there - bundled with a lovely chat - can't be re-produced by a supermarket or shopping centre. The same goes for show shops, clothing etc. And what about our small corner shops. We have one in Blarney and it has been an institution for as long as I can think of. He never gave up the the tradition of having loose sweets for the kids to buy - even if it is only 2 or 3 pieces. This are the future customers and they are treated as such - and of course, their parents went already buying their 6pence sweets from him. If this corner shops closes, Blarney will have lost a big part of its tradition and history.

The same goes for all small villages but also for Cork City. Can you imagine North Main Street without Bradleys? They are fighting the recession with creativity and courage not only for themselves but also for Irish food producers as they are the biggest merchant for craft beers and ciders. They have the knowledge you need to make a choice when buying either for yourself or as a gift. They can tell you who made the beer, the characteristic and more - tell me one supermarket that can do that.

So, what can we do? We can choose with more conscience where we buy but also why be buy. Currently only 36% of Irish buyers check for the country of origin. I am proud to say that I am one of them and you can see Mr T and myself putting milk back on the shelf if it doesn't have the Irish Dairy Seal. By choosing Irish over imported goods, we save jobs here in Ireland each and every day - which will result in money being spent again and our wonderful small family run business will be able to survive the big bad R.

You might say, it is hard to park in Cork City - and yes, I do agree but what are we going to do about it? The City Manager will definitely not do anything unless he gets bombarded with requests. The City Council is hard to move on any subject they have decided - but hey, let's make it hard for them. Write your thoughts down and submit them to City Hall. They might wake up one day and act towards the greater good. Let's start a letter war with them - after all we are the Rebel County. Let's save our family businesses and corner shops.

You can read the article here

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