COLUMN: Value of buying from local butcher, baker and candlestick maker

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At a time when our major retail conglomerates are still falling by the wayside under the pressure of the shameful priority of massive margins and profits, would now be a good time to harp back to the philosophy of shopping local and independent?

Despite their monopoly the giants are bringing each other down in a greedy marketing battle that has decimated our local high streets. Wherever it has all gone wrong they leave gaping holes in the economy and in our high street that could well be filled with something far more sustainable.

Now is the time to consider how we spend and to recognise the added value of shopping with independents.

It’s quite simply because they offer real choice, variety, quality and sustainability.

In Sheffield it is affordable as independent businesses want their precious products to sell and they value people switching from quantity and mass production to quality and choice. Gift shops like Frankly My Deer showcase a wealth of local artists and artisan delis like Mr Pickles and Forge Bakehouse, in the Antiques Quarter, sell quality Yorkshire produce.

As a society we need to stop being led by mass marketing where we are treated like minions and stop comparing the price we pay for a pint of milk at Tescos. The reality is that our farmers are forced to sell milk at a loss and to introduce questionable farming practices to the detriment of animal welfare for the price of a cheap gesture to forge ‘this month’s’ loyalty.

In Sheffield, local coffee roasters like Frazer’s and Cafeology use Our Cow Molly because it’s clearly the right thing to do and their fabulous coffee tastes 10 times better using good quality ethical milk.

In turn independent cafes like Bragazzis and the Rude Shipyard are using locally sourced ingredients whilst offering vibrant creative environments that reflects their owner’s passion.

For most of us life is moving at an insane pace that makes convenience appear essential but put the brakes on for a moment and it’s easy to see how we benefit from making considered choices.

There can be no doubt that for a city like Sheffield, independent development should be at its core and if variety is the spice of life there is tons on offer.

Vibrant up-and-coming areas like the Antiques Quarter offer the chance to forge loyalty in a more traditional way.

So let’s choose to buy local when we can and recognise the value of buying from the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker.