Kayleigh Bowles, Jay, Molly and Camron Thompson in Cork at Christmas. See www.glowcork.ie. Photo: Darragh Kane

ISME: Think, Spend & Support Local this Christmas

Christmas is coming which is such a crucial time of year for so many local businesses. We all need to do what we can to support these local businesses who keep our towns and city vibrant and interesting.

Last Thursday, the Irish SME Association (ISME) launched its 2022 Shop Local campaign calling on shoppers and businesses to Think, Spend & Support Local.

The campaign aims to promote products and services from SMEs across Ireland.

The focus of the campaign is to get everyone to Think Local before buying, then Spend locally and Support with recommendations and referrals, not just for the Christmas shopping period, but throughout the year. By spending and supporting locally we can:

Support our local community

Reduce our carbon footprint and transport costs

Access products that are sustainable and traceable

Get quality and value for money

Neil McDonnell, Chief Executive at ISME said: “Christmas 2022 will be the third successive year of challenged trading conditions for many Irish businesses. You can make the difference for many of those affected this year with your spending decisions. Save time, money, and the environment by keeping at least a portion of your festive spending local this Christmas.”

ISME has created two online portals – for consumers at isme.ie/shop-local/b2c-2 and one for businesses at isme.ie/shop-local/shop-local-b2b. Consumers can browse a variety of categories such as activities and entertainment, fashion, food and drink, retail, and Irish breaks which offers gift ideas for Christmas and showcases local businesses.

For businesses, they can access a directory of B2B products and services such as corporate gifts, legal and financial services, IT and marketing, transport, training and more.

“Being a small family run business in rural Co. Clare, Shop Local is so important to our business as it keeps the circular economy going within our community, while customers enjoy our range of top-quality artisan cheeses and contribute to our sustainability plan by helping lower our carbon footprint.” according to Siobhán Ni Ghairbith, owner of St Tola Goat Cheese.

Alan McGrath is the CEO of Health Stores Ireland which represents over 100 health stores throughout the country. He believes that independent shops do expect a tightening up on basket and big-ticket spending but are appealing to customers not to underestimate the power of even the smallest transaction with their local shops.

“Whether it’s a cup of coffee in a local café or a single low-cost item from a food specialist, everyone benefits from this interaction, both socially and economically, and the retention of a diverse and sustainable retail offering will be ultimate end result.”

Laura Daly from Wines Direct added: “Wines Direct is a family-run company, committed to further engaging in the local community. This year we sponsored the first Mullingar Pride Parade, and endeavour to support more local causes as the years go on. We work with indie winemakers who have devoted themselves to sustainable and ethical winemaking. By supporting us, you support them and the local Mullingar community.”

To find out more about the campaign and to explore the businesses involved visit https://isme.ie/shop-local/.