As always, in case you haven’t yet heard about the Local Yokel Project, it’s a privately-funded “shop-local” campaign to encourage people to support local business first! I’m Meg and I’ve been at this for almost 5 years now and there is really so much to do to get the word out- and once again, I’m appealing for help from everyone who believes that East London has the potential to be amazing!
I can’t deny that this time of the year is certainly the worst time for me. Because I’m so passionate about advocating for money that is earned here, to be spent here, seeing so much national and online support, is agonising. As the madness of the festive season sends our spending into a frenzy, the shameful part is how much leaves our city through national and, believe it or not, even international online shopping. Time is precious and I, too, would sit at my desk and click, click, dong, dong, blah, blah- BUT I care about the future of this potentially amazing place and I know the impact that the loss of revenue has and will continue to have, if we don’t take action and CHOOSE LOCAL FIRST!
It’s been a really challenging year for most South Africans but in particular, our often-forgotten little region will continue to take knock after knock as centralised buying practices creeps in more and more in an effort to reduce costs. While this is all totally understandable, our pockets suffer. National companies operating here are forced by their Head Offices to support THEIR alliances and often dispatch commodities from their own distribution centres and as a result, less and less rands circulate here. More pressure is placed on our infrastructure and the carbon footprint ensuing from the logistical side is environmentally detrimental too. Sometimes these practices are beyond our control as consumers, but we certainly can vote for a better East London with our wallets and keep more money here by supporting local first in so many ways from groceries to gifts!
It’s not rocket science but it just takes us all to talk about this subject a little more. Those of us who believe in this and practice the support local first philosophy are not here to judge – nor are we out to boycott. It’s a simple shift of a mindset. There’s a hope that the “how can I make it better?” attitude wins over the “what does it do for me?” culture of entitlement that is currently rampant in society. This rings back to the “BE LOYAL, BUY LOCAL” theme. The sad thing is that loyalty is no longer a value in business but we can bring it back- just as we need to bring back the communication that we have with business owners. We need to talk to each other, we need to be proud to support our neighbours. We need to bring back that pride and make OUR East London better, ONE RAND AT A TIME!
I’m a useless delegator (my husband might disagree) and I’m also not a fan of asking for favours but in the name of this campaign, I’ve found a growing boldness – sometimes to a point of being brazen, so my ask here is to please SHARE and TALK about this viewpoint! It is inspiring to see that there IS in fact activism on the go but as a community, we need to really get behind it here and make it a common practice! When you have a positive experience at a local store, tell the world about it to friends, family, Facebook, wherever. If you OWN local, BUY local! As a local business owner, it’s your civic duty to support local- end of story. I’m not here to make friends and I apologise if what I believe offends anyone. I so often question my ability to facilitate this project in our city but someone has to do it and it’s not about me- it’s about US and OUR future here. I know that usually take this all too personally but my aspiration for a thriving East London is unquestionable!
For more info: www.localyokel.co.za / The Local Yokel Project on Facebook.
You can also contact Meg on: 072 473 5269 / [email protected]