3/50: supporting your local shops

Where I live in Luton, we’re lucky enough to have a little grocer within walking distance, and a family run butcher, and various other small independent shops. I think we’re just far enough away from the nearest supermarket to keep them in business, and long may that continue.

There are quite a few schemes for supporting local traders. Local currencies, such as Brixton’s, are set up to encourage people to spend money locally. When I was in London I used the Wedge card scheme, a loyalty card for local shops, and still do sometimes when I’m in town.

This week I came across another scheme in 3/50. Very simply, the campaign invited shoppers to think of three small local businesses they couldn’t bear to see go out of business, pubs, shops, cafes, etc. Having chosen your three, you then pledge to spend $50 between them every month.

It’s a simple idea, getting people to notice the shops around them and shop more mindfully. I like it, and I might well adapt it for Luton in some way.


  1. I have started a scheme in the market town of Llanrwst where we use a card that can be used at local small businesses to collect loyalty points. The beauty of the card is that it can be used at local shops all over the world. I think Glocal is the word to describe it.

  2. Yes, towns and cities all have the same problem – supermarkets. When the supermarket sells everything from vegetables to DVDs and books all in one place with convenient parking, why go anywhere else? We’ve had a move towards big brands and chain stores, and local variety has been swept away, despite smaller local shops often being better and cheaper. And you definitely get better customer service.

  3. I set a challenge for myself to shop everywhere except the supermarket. If you look for it most things are available in the small local stores. You just have to think a little harder. Usually anything odd you want you’ll find in the local health store. The one in Llanrwst is excellent. The loyalty card gives the shops that little edge to compete against the supermarkets.

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