KILDARE Chamber of Commerce is urging the county’s shoppers to support local retailers this Christmas, businesses it has described as the “heartbeat of our communities”.
Retail Ireland’s Christmas 2018 Retail Monitor has revealed that Irish households are predicted to spend an average of €2,690 this December, a welcome opportunity – both online and in-store – for businesses across Co Kildare.
However, with consumers increasingly comfortable shopping online and around 70% of digital purchases completed on websites based outside the Republic, it can be particularly challenging for local traders to take advantage and compete against low-cost, high-volume providers such as Amazon.
According to Chamber CEO Allan Shine, supporting local enterprise means consumers are helping to create and sustain local jobs, competition and product choice across the county. “Before clicking the button on your laptop,” he said, “think ‘can I buy this product locally and help support business in my town and support jobs?’”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Kildare South TD Fiona O’Loughlin, who argues that traders and artisans across Kildare offer a broad variety of creative and often unusual or unique gifts at reasonable prices.
“When we take the time to look, there is absolutely no shortage of creativity and innovation in towns and villages across Kildare,” she said recently, adding that every €10 spent locally is worth €40 to the local economy. “There are so many quirky, unique shops on our doorstep that have wonderful, unusual gifts on sale at reasonable prices this Christmas.”
Catherine Dooley, who sells 1950s and rockabilly-style dresses at Rocks Frocks in Athy, is a firm believer in the importance of supporting local. Local businesses, she believes, can differentiate and attract consumers through quality personal service, as well as making sure that people are aware of special offers and product ranges that are available.
Matters have been taken into hand via the Athy Trader Red Balloon event, launched by Catherine and Philip Manley of Manley’s Menswear back in April. The event was held again last Thursday 6 December to highlight the variety of products in the town, accompanied by special offers, discounts and competitions from more than 70 local traders.
In any town or village, discovering the depth and breadth of what’s on offer is simply a matter of hitting the streets.
“Athy has so much to offer,” Ms Dooley told the Kildare Nationalist , “and you don’t know what’s really in the town if you don’t go down and find it.”