Long time local businessman Mark Bullen speaks on behalf of the new ‘Locals For Locals’ committee. He explains why it is most important to show support for your local community, by supporting your local businesses.
How long have you owned your business in Armidale?
We have owned this business since 1974, when my father, mother, my three sisters and I moved from Newcastle to Armidale and purchased what is now known as Armidale Bicycle Centre.
The business was previously owned by the Forbes family and had been established by that family a number of years prior to my family taking it over. So to directly answer the question, my family has had the business 37 years.
What are your major concerns about our local retail economy?
My major concerns are that the consumer does not understand the major link that retail plays in the community in general. As well as our own business, all businesses contribute to the community, not only financially, but also in the development of the community.
Retail is one of the highest employers in Australia, so this is where a lot of young people secure their first job or career.
If this link is broken, then the money and support does not circulate, and the community dies – just look at where a lot of the community leaders come from, and you will see at one time or another the majority have had a connection to retail. This path has helped them on their way to success. All links in the chain are important to the success of any community and they all support each other, as we all rely on each other to keep it afloat.
Who is behind the locals for locals campaign?
The Locals for Locals campaign was the brainchild of Greg Jackson of Jackson Quality Meats, who through his own business has seen what was happening to his and a number of other businesses, when they weren’t getting support within the community … although these business were still supporting and putting sponsorship back into the community.
He recognised the fact that when you went to the local sporting fields and looked on the team shirts and took note, it was local businesses whose names appeared on those shirts. This showed that when the community needed help, it was the local businesses that put their hands in their pockets and helped with sponsorship.
This is not only on the sporting field. You only have to take note when attending most community based projects, and you will see the local businesses behind the projects – helping it either financially or otherwise.
Next time, just take note at sporting events, local school or community fetes, fundraising events, school education days, community fundraising balls, field days … and the list goes on.
This just goes to show that in a small way, local businesses are helping our community and town survive.
So all in all, while Greg was the initial ideas man, the local businesses are behind the campaign, as we are at the front line of the retail community who keep things ticking.
How does the campaign work?
To start with, Greg has contacted the businesses that he knows are locally owned (and also through word of mouth) to form a group to help push the community to support local businesses. These businesses are locally owned, employing locals, who support local charities, local fundraisers, local schools and sporting groups. Also, you will see these local businessmen and women working at these charity events for free to help our community and our special interest groups. These businesses are not multinational companies where a percentage of their money goes out of town; whereas, most of the money that goes through local business circulates through town.
The main motto is “Show support for local community, by supporting your local businesses. Locals 4 Locals!”
Just think along these lines, and these figures are only estimates, but if you spend $100 in town, you would probably have about 90% chance that the money would circulate through the town and support the community. If you spend the same dollar in, say, Tamworth, you maybe have about 20% chance of it coming back to the Armidale community. If you then go to Sydney, you can probably work on 1 or 2% chance and if you buy overseas, the money has not only gone from Armidale, but gone from the country altogether.
That means no help for the community – no support of jobs, no support of sporting events, no support of community fund raising, and the list goes on.
When you shop at a multinational, do you ask for a discount? And do you get the personal service and attention you should?
How do you fund this campaign?
At the present time the campaign is only in its early stages, and we are still banding together to fully work out the funding. A lot of the advertising and promotion of this has been free of charge, with the local media groups and the local businesses now on board. The businesses have included it into their own advertising campaigns. But as more people and businesses get on board, the more we will know.
How can the locals support this campaign?
All locals who are looking to make purchases of goods and services within our community look for our stamp – Locals 4 Locals posters or logos – and try to support our own local businesses. Also recommend and suggest friends, relations and anyone you speak to support the local businesses and if you are looking for anything in particular, give the locals a go – they may be able to help.
How can local business join this campaign?
If any local business would like to join, either ring or contact Greg Jackson at Jackson’s Quality Meats or me at Armidale Bicycle Centre, or ask a business that displays the sign.