Show Me The Money! ~ Shop Local

Katherine Metcalfe from Wedge was table leader

nef (the new economics foundation) coined the term 'clone town' to describe a phenomenon which is transforming British high streets. With the imminent arrival of "Sainsbury's local" on Blackstock Road to add to the Tescos and other chain grocers, could this description soon fit our shopping streets?
“Real local shops have been replaced by swathes of identikit chain stores that seem to spread like economic weeds, making high streets up and down the country virtually indistinguishable from one another. Retail spaces once filled with a thriving mix of independent butchers, newsagents, tobacconists, pubs, bookshops, greengrocers and family-owned general stores are becoming filled with faceless supermarket retailers, fast-food chains, and global fashion outlets.”

But by keeping money circulating in local economies, we can create more jobs, support community cohesion and have a smaller ecological footprint.
We looked at setting up a local scheme – Shop N4, which aims to reduce local plastic bag usage and encourage people to shop locally within Finsbury Park. To do this we will create a fabric 'Shop N4' carrier bag that also acts as a loyalty card. The retailer receives the subsidised bag from us, Transition Finsbury Park, and keeps the profit made from selling it to customers. In return, the retailers offer a small percentage discount to customers every time the 'Shop N4' bag is used in their store.
Yen: shop local, WedgeYen: shop local, WedgeThe success of the scheme is ensured by both the incentive to consumers to reuse the bags and the incentive to the retailer in their distribution: they make a clear profit on each bag sold. Shops also benefit from free advertising on the bags and also from the general 'Shop N4' message. TFP is currently applying for funding for this project as well as carrying out research: what bags do shoppers like and how much are they prepared to pay; would shopkeepers like to offer a 5% discount or just a nominal amount off, e.g. 5p?

We also looked at the advantages of joining the Wedge Card – a London-wide reward card for local shops, which benefits from the distribution of vouchers and competitions in The Big Issue every week. Hackney Council has promoted Wedge (with a cut going to Hackney City Farm), but our other boroughs have not yet done so.

For more information:

Also discussed was a “people's supermarket” where those who give their time earn a discount, and a community enterprise pub, with good food and maybe even a B&B.

Lira: food acquisitionLira: food acquisition