As we look ahead to 2021, we want to suggest a different resolution to the norm.
First of all, let’s introduce ourselves. Breaking free from the Chain Gangs, Independent Liverpool is about linking up all those little places that fill life’s little spaces. Explore what the city has to offer with us. From the lesser-known to the best-kept secret gems that deserve a place in your heart. We’re looking beyond the uniform. And the uniforms. We’re searching for somewhere different, something unique, just like you. We’re here to show you there’s more than just One Liverpool and to take you on a unique tour of the city. Almost eight years ago this revolution started and despite an increased independent mindset, shopping local has never been such an important resolution.
“Buy Local”—you see the decal in the store window, the sign at the farmer’s market, the bright, cheerful logos. The apparent message is “let’s-support-local-business”, a kind of community boosterism. But buying close to home may be more than a feel-good, it’s-worth-paying-more-for-local matter. Most of you know why, but let’s all revisit what has motivated us to start this journey. We read a study from the London School of Economics a few years ago that stated for every £1 spent in a local business, up to 70p stays in the local economy in comparison to just 5-10p when spent in a chain or online. We aren’t naive to believe shopping local is always possible but we urge you to make the extra effort when and whenever you can. It’s the only way for us to take control and invest in the future of our own community. After the catastrophe of 2020, the effects of coronavirus for independent businesses has been enormous. But places have adapted, realigned and reformed to survive.
Take the Granby Four Streets case study. A story that defines the very resilience Liverpool has become famous for. A story about community. A story about the power of the people. A story of how a neglected wasteland can be taken over by the community and then win a Turner Prize. A poignant reminder that the power to be self-sufficient is in our hands and the future is still ours for those willing to get their hands dirty. And whilst we could give a hundred examples of things Liverpool did well and list countless venues that have opened, the list for things we did bad and venues that have closed are just as long. Whilst we celebrate new places opening, we mourn for the closure of Nolita Cantina and long for someone, something to fill The Kazimier shaped hole in our life.
The easiest part of this whole resolution? It’s as easy as drinking a cup of coffee, going for a meal or getting your hair cut. We’re not asking you to do anything different, we’re just asking you to do it in different local places. Liverpool is a wonderful city. It’s full of interesting people with tribal-like pride. Supporting our own has always been a mantra to which Liverpool has abided by and thanks to it, the city is full of wonderful places run by incredibly passionate people. From illustrators to candle stick makers, from coffee shops to clothes shops, from restaurants to cake makers, from dog groomers to opticians and everything in between, local comes in many weird and wonderful forms just waiting to be discovered.
For these places to keep opening and for the risk takers to keep taking risks, they need you. Support local in 2021.