Subject: Kildare Chamber of Commerce , letter to editor.
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 2009 18:10:13 +0000
How do you persuade people that saving a few Euro on the Christmas Nintendo and Booze is the wrong thing to do? You cant- its only possible to fight fire with fire and fight a price war on price.
Throughout 2009 the small and medium business sector has cut prices, cut costs and adopted lean and innovative survival skills to keep the door to commerce open. Almost every business in Kildare, including mine, has made workers redundant, merged job descriptions, and added to the queues of the unemployed.
Those who remain in work are working longer and are filling broader roles. 40 hour jobs are cut to 32 and evenings or Saturdays are now worked without complaint. The private sector are now very close to the vision of the improved competitive economy which the ESRI and McCarthy report recommended.
Yet the queues northward get longer as we near Christmas. The local economy which is currently holding out for an upturn in trade will shed more jobs in the New Year if trade remains flat throughout Christmas.
Kildare Chamber of Commerce organised and funded an extended shop local campaign this year featuring a soldier fighting to keep Private Euro in our local economy and featuring the iconic uncle Sam's patriotic recruiting message "I want You" (to spend euros locally).
Any effective shop local campaign needs to achieve three aims. The first aim is to convince consumers that support for local business is essential to community life. The second is to inform shoppers of the value on offer locally and fight the myth that small local shops are dearer. The third aim of persuading businesses to provide better value can be achieved by rallying businesses into a group loyalty scheme, discount scheme or innovative PR campaign.
Kildare has everything to offer. A well stocked man's shop on the square with hidden discounts and Italian suits that could come from Louis Copeland. The everything shop on Station Road which challenges you to find cheaper. Christmas shops and pet shops and gift shops fly the flag for enterprise and service. Kildare farm foods have bigger and better turkeys than a Eurovision Semi-final. Retailers now compete transparently on price. Pubs and Restaurants now give group deals and two/three course specials so that no one should have reason to party out of town.
I am blowing the trumpet for Kildare. But there isn't a town in the county now that hasn't got it's act together and blown off the complacency and excesses of the so-called tiger decade. In my line of work I see plenty of Garfields. The Celtic Garfield is using up her nine lives and rapidly turning lean and fit for business.
We can win the economic battle, if we spend our hard earned euro at home. But if another half billion leaves the southern Irish economy in 2010, as it has so far in 2009, we can all play the blame game together on the dole queue.
Chairman, Kildare Chamber of Commerce.
Kildare Vet Surgery,
Windows 7: Find the right PC for you. Learn more.
New Windows 7: Find the right PC for you. Learn more.