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Keeping the lights on

Shopping local during Covid-19 

Ireland has seen its first wave of small business closure due to Covid-19, and as times remain uncertain, those who survived are counting on community to make it through the year. 

The last decade has seen an uprise in communities promoting the importance of shopping local, and support for these small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has never been needed more than in 2020.  

Supporting SMEs stimulates the local economy, diversifies businesses into unique enterprises, and improves regional prosperity. As Covid-19 seeps into almost every aspect of daily life, the Liberties community sees every business working to persevere through the current economic crisis. 

The Liberty spoke to owners of small businesses in and around the Liberties area to hear their stories of enduring the economic hardship.  

Sinéad, of Adonis Flowers, told the Liberty that although the pandemic is heavily affecting the local economy, the community is pulling together to aid local businesses: 

“The restrictions have definitely endangered local businesses, but there has been a very big sense of community. Everyone in the area has been making a big effort to help local business. They get their lunch from local coffee shops and buy their produce locally; everyone is trying to do their part.”

“Regulars have been buying more frequently when they can. There has been a big effort made in supporting local trade, it’s great to see.” 

Adonis Flowers, near St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Source: The Liberty 

Michelle, of Evergreen Greengrocer, told the Liberty of the tangible fear around the area for non-essential businesses.  

“Businesses like mine [fruit and vegetable grocer] will survive; we’re in food, so we’re necessary,  but there are a lot of small unique businesses in this area that have to shut down because of guidelines and they won’t be coming back,” she said. 

Michelle then shared an uplifting story of Dublin’s community strength during this year’s hardship: 

“We were in the unlucky situation where all of our children contracted Covid-19. Three members of the local community here stepped up and did home deliveries for me while I was at home with the kids, because I couldn’t be here. They did the home delivery drops to vulnerable people, for 23 days, and refused payment.”  

She then elaborated on the difficulties SMEs face when trying to keep the bills paid: 

“I think the intentions of the government are good, but when you’re in a small business, as we are, we’re working so hard that we don’t have time to read, apply, wait and react to all of the legislation. It’s not that any of us are unable or unwilling to, but we’re trying our best to pay our mortgages and stay alive.” 

Evergreen Greengrocers stayed open throughout the lockdown with pick-up and home delivery services. Source: The Liberty 

While stories of communal strength are inspiring, the struggle is far from over. Using local businesses to strengthen the local economy is critical in keeping the cultural heart of the Liberties intact.  

Media outlet DublinLive reported on a new website, Shop Local, where people across the country can search for products they need and find a local business or SME to purchase from.  

The site also provides details on home delivery for special requirement-customers.  

Shop Local was created by a Liberties-based design company, New Graphic, as a not-for-profit initiative to help SMEs during the pandemic.  

To find out where you can support local business, visit Shoplocal.Irish.

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