Why shopping local matters

A confluence of grim global and national events, a volatile stockmarket, and the worst national retail figures since 1990 have meant tough times for our Hawksburn Village traders.

Many of our retail friends say their shops are under-performing, and we know of four businesses in Malvern Road to have closed since January, or are about to close.

My Bookshop is not immune to the current economic downturn. We have had the worst start to a calendar year since we opened in 2009. To put it bluntly, if business doesn’t pick up, we may not be here to celebrate our 11th birthday.

Our plea to our Hawksburn friends is: shop local. Every time you buy an extra bottle of olive oil from Toscano, a beautiful dress from Whofish, cheese from Stocked, a shirt from Gazman, a woolen throw from Plane Tree Farm, or a book from us, you are supporting a local business. You are saying no to the online option, you are saying “not today” to a big shopping mall in another suburb. And from all of us who welcome you into our stores: thank you.

There are so many positives about shopping in your own neighborhood. Local business owners employ local people. We give part-time roles and important work experiences to local students. We buy from local suppliers, growers, artists and designers. We pay local taxes, we invest in our local community including kindergartens and schools, and we forge friendships and connections with the regulars who visit our stores.

If you do shop via international websites, please don’t tell us. “If you don’t have it, I’ll buy it online,” a customer will tell us as we search our inventory.

Shopkeepers are never sure how to respond to a comment like this. To us, it’s perplexing and hurtful. Perplexing because if you order with us, the book will be here – in most cases - within two to five days. There is no added postage, and we will only sell you the book if it is in tip-top condition and you are happy with the product.

And these comments are hurtful. These are our shops, we love our stock, and we present our carefully-curated merchandise with pride. And, as Bob at Toscano’s told me the other day, “Where else do shoppers get such great service, great advice – and we even offer recipe tips!”

During this difficult and nervous post-bushfire, coronavirus-affected, financially-challenged period, we hope our wonderful community will embrace the many joys of shopping in the Hawksburn Village. Our shopkeepers care about you and your families, we offer safe environments, and we love it when you come inside and browse our displays. A big thank you from all of us – and thank you from all of us at My Bookshop.

Corrie Perkin, owner

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