Buy local and support small businesses this ‘Green Friday’

The Green Party is urging people to shop locally and support small businesses this Christmas, and to make this ‘Black Friday’ a ‘Green Friday’.

Covid-19 restrictions have had a severe impact on small businesses, and campaigners are calling for people to shop online at Irish businesses or hold off on holiday shopping until early December when local retail outlets reopen.

Black Friday is tomorrow (November 27) and the shopping experience will be different this year, with retail heavily limited to online.

Green Party spokesperson for rural development and enterprise Róisín Garvey says that if there was ever a time to buy local, it is now.

“Black Friday promotions are, for the most part, run by large international companies and are hugely damaging for the local economy, especially this year when shops have been closed,” the senator said.

“Consumers have to realise the amount of power they have with the money they spend and where they spend it. Christmas shopping has already started so we need to spend our money on local businesses.

Craft workers and small businesses have so much to offer, it is endless the different things people are doing – it is so creative, you are not stuck for ideas.

“Buying online from a local business on Black Friday or waiting a week or two to shop in person will make a huge difference to your local area this Christmas.”

She is calling on everybody to really think about where they are spending their money.

“Even if they only divert a fiver or a tenner more a week towards supporting local businesses, it will help people enormously and prevent job losses,” Senator Garvey continued.

“We need to focus on a circular economy where you are keeping your money locally, so we support our businesses and business owners who work very hard.

“We all know how hard self-employed people work and small business owners work to keep their jobs going for their employees. It is a very difficult time because of Covid-19 now and Brexit coming down the road, so we really need to support our own.”

‘Businesses have really stepped up to the plate since the onset of the pandemic’

During the summer, Fine Gael Senator Emer Currie teamed up with the Castleknock Business Group to drive awareness of the ‘Champion Green’ national awareness campaign.

“The campaign is encouraging all adults in Ireland to click local and spend an extra €50 in November, which they estimate will result in a €180 million boost for the economy,” the senator said.

“Black Friday is becoming a longer event this year with offers starting early and consumers wanting to prepare by shopping for the presents early.

Small and medium size businesses have really stepped up to the plate since the onset of the pandemic, adapting to new ways of doing business and offering their goods and services online.

“Consumers are also changing their shopping habits since the beginning of the year, with almost 30% of spending carried out online, rising to 50% in April, according to research by Revolut.”

According to the same data source, there has been a jump in the number of companies that started accepting online payment since the start of the pandemic.

“The grocery and food stores sector has seen over a 350% increase in the number of firms accepting online payments, with increases of over 150% in cosmetics, merchandise and healthcare,” the senator continued.

I know how extremely difficult the restrictions have been for businesses in Ireland. Our retailers and their customers are making huge sacrifices to protect public health and I would like to thank them.

“Christmas and special retail events like Black Friday provide us with the opportunity to help them though this challenging period by shopping locally for the festive season.”