‘Buy Local’ push falling short

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times

The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River and the local Chamber of Commerce are urging residents to get behind their Local Is More campaign after news this week only 45 people had “signed the pledge” to support the local business sector.

The online campaign, unveiled in July, was part of a push to help traders battling through winter, the COVID-19 downturn, and the upheaval caused by the Margaret River main street development.

Margaret River Chamber of Commerce executive officer Annie McFie said more events were planned to support the campaign, which launched with an official opening at The River in late July.

“The campaign is in its early stages as we continue to raise awareness and grow the campaign via events, our website and social media,” Ms McFie said.

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“We envisage a growth in pledges.”

When the project launched, Shire president Ian Earl encouraged residents to share the message on social media and sign the pledge online.

“We live in a hardworking community that has been built on the backbone of locals looking after each other,” he said.

“It’s now time for us to step up and say thank you to the local families who make our region what it is today and to get behind them to keep them thriving.”

The Shire’s corporate and community services director, James Shepherd, also encouraged residents to get involved.

“The 2020 year has held some huge challenges for the local community, so continuing to support the local businesses that support the community is a great way to care for our patch,” he said.

“We would like to see the number of pledges significantly grow as the Local Is More campaign gains traction.

“Shifting even a small percentage of outside spend to local businesses can make a huge positive difference in our community, and a big difference to these businesses during such challenging times.”

The chamber of commerce recently proposed establishing a business support hub in one of the vacant tenancies on Margaret River’s main street, but was unable to confirm if the concept was viable.

Three seminars would be held in coming months, organised by Transition Margaret River, that “will look at localisation of economies, local food security, and local energy generation,” the Shire said. A proposed Live Local Month was planned for November to showcase events, local products, talent, and opportunities for community connection.

A post-Main Street redevelopment marketing campaign has also been proposed.

A Times poll of Margaret River’s main street traders found at least half were unaware of the campaign or did not believe it offered direct benefits.

For more information and to sign the pledge, visit localismore.com.au.

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