Carrick-on-Shannon is OPEN
The first lock down taught us a lot. The re-opening of familiar small businesses brought life back to our towns and a sense of community and camaraderie to us all.
We could browse in bookshops, have a coffee with friends, re-decorate the house, heck – even go to the gym! We could do the normal things that make life liveable, and this time with a renewed sense of appreciation.
But now the introduction of nationwide Level 5 restrictions at this crucial pre-Christmas time means many businesses have closed their doors again - temporarily, we hope - but unfortunately for some, it might be for good. While these doors are closed, bookshop owners, cake decorators, shoe sellers, giftware vendors, menswear outlets, they are all working away in the background doing their utmost to keep their business heads above water.
Many are busy finding ways to continue trading under the restrictions of Level 5 - some are fortunate enough to have e-commerce sites and others are making good use of their social media and offering Click & Collect services.
Even pre-pandemic, as shopping habits changed, small businesses had been feeling the pinch as shoppers moved online, using global services to purchase a product that may have been available down the road. How can struggling small businesses compete with the global giants of online shopping? Well, you know the old adage … if you can’t beat them, join them! Online shopping is with us now, but it does not have to be global, we can and should keep it as local as we possibly can.
Carrick-on-Shannon has launched a campaign - #BeLOCAL. It is an initiative, supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the County Council encouraging shoppers to stay local and support their town and its many and varied small businesses. It encourages everyone living in and around the town to keep their shopping and consuming - local! But what does that mean?
Well for starters, it means that we all need to STOP and THINK before we shop. It means that we may need to put a little more effort and thought into our shopping. For example, Christmas is fast approaching and this year we will have to plan our gifting like never before.
Make your list, and when you are looking on line - search for providers ‘Nearby’ or in Carrick-on -Shannon, Leitrim or Ireland. The benefit of shopping local for us all is that the money stays in OUR economy and helps to keep OUR family and friends employed.
The #BeLOCAL Campaign has been developed to encourage the population in and around Carrick-on-Shannon to invest in the community and local economy by keeping their €uros local. The initiative plans to drive consumer awareness and thoughtfulness.
You may have noticed the billboard on the Leitrim Road as you enter or exit Carrick-on-Shannon or the #BeLocal posters in shops throughout town. There is also a social media campaign asking people to take the pledge to shop local, think local, be local. Anyone can agree to ‘take this pledge’, which simply involves shopping with consideration ; thinking before you spend and being more aware of where your hard earned cash is going.
The great thing, is that it’s really catching on. People realise the importance and they are sharing, liking and commenting on local business posts. This all makes an incredible difference as it equates to the old fashioned (!!!) and much relied upon - Word Of Mouth!
The mycarrick.ie facebook page is busy sharing content and local businesses are encouraged to tag @mycarrick.ie when they post to facebook and instagram.
The #BeLOCAL project leader, Aoife McCormack of Gateway Marketing has visited the local Carrick-on-Shannon Community School to meet with Transition Year students who have had their TY experience drastically impacted this year.
Now the students are aware of the importance and power of their own spending. Supporting the campaign they are fully aware that they are as important for the survival of their town as anyone else. The understand that by shopping locally, you are not simply buying a product, you are keeping your neighbours in business and your town viable and alive.
It is important to remember that Carrick-on-Shannon is open for business! Whether you can get in to town in person, or not, that’s ok ! Many businesses are functioning in the online realm now – one of the requirements for maintaining contact with customers and audiences during these restrictions.
Most of your favourite shops, restaurants, cafés (etc) will have an online presence, either through their own website or through social media platforms.
Before you spend your hard earned Euros, think about who it is you are giving your money to. Buying quality products is value for your money and keeps jobs and industry vital in the locality and keeps the heart of the town beating. Let your friends and family know when you find something of real quality; if you find a product that you love and a supplier you would like to see thriving, spread the word.
Carrick is open and local business needs you.