Are we sleepwalking into ghost towns?

We are so lucky in the UK to have a country of independent shops and businesses. Some regions fare better than others in having a more thriving indie scene, and that indie spirit of entrepreneurship often goes hand in hand with new ventures, new ideas and a sense of ‘can do’ about the place. It is no coincidence that towns that have a good selection of independent shops often enjoy happier, more connected communities, community events, and are often places people like to visit. Indie shops, markets and businesses boost our towns in all sorts of ways – from generating jobs, supporting new suppliers, creating growing businesses and franchises to just generally making us happier (and prouder) about where we live.

At the same time as loving the fact that so many new businesses begin and exist in our high streets, we also love the convenience of deliveries and technologies that allow us to simply order what we want from our living rooms by a click or a voice command. As delivery drivers zip up and down our streets, we see less people on our streets. Slowly our worlds in spite of all that global convenience on our doorstep, start to shrink. Our choices locally reduce and we sleepwalk into ghost towns. Most of us don’t see the warning signs until it is too late. It has taken one town to lose 14 shops in the last 6 months before people have started to question what is happening. But how can you reverse a decline like that…? Only by working together and encouraging people to shop local.

We all know our shops can’t exist if people just like them. We all need to use them too. Everytime we choose an online delivery, we reduce the chances of our independent shops surviving. Some stats have shown 15 shops closing each day, when they close there is an ever longer delay for a new indie business to take their place too. Slowly our shops become empty or become service-led or second-hand.

ShopAppy is beginning to present an alternative to this picture. We don’t accept this future for our towns.  We don’t think you should either, unless you like the idea of ghost towns where retail is always out of town and delivered on demand. We see a future where we blend online with realtime encounters – so people can get the convenience of online with the personality of local shops and highly convenient click and collect. After all it is much quicker (and more pleasant) for us to pop to a local shop and collect an item we want, than to speak to a gadget and wait for a few hours for our items to arrive.  When you choose to shop local, you get out and about, you get fitter, you get less packaging, you meet people and you reconnect with where you live, which is not in an online world but a real one. We choose a world that is not all about dispatch warehouses. To avoid it, we need to stop sleepwalking into these all so easy, all so tempting online sites. We think it is time to wake up and smell the coffee (from a local independent café of course!).

If you agree, please join the cause – just subscribe to ShopAppy.com and spread the word before it is too late or use ShopAppy.com if you are often too busy to shop local or email us on jackie@shopappy.com to see how you can bring ShopAppiness back in your town.

 

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