Shopping locally goes beyond simply receiving a quality product - thats the reason that I continue to shop small and local

Partnership Content 2degrees and a group of Stuffs community papers have launched a Shop Local campaign to support small businesses.
OPINION: Tucked away in the corner of my bedroom sat a desk. Like many others across the country, this had become my temporary workplace for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Except, the work had dried up as the contracts that I had lined up for the year had been cancelled.

After years of hustling and building the profile of my small business, this year was looking to be the one in which I finally secured my first home and transitioned full-time into self-employment.


So understandably I was frustrated and upset with my new, uncertain reality.

I would learn very soon that I wasnt alone in this feeling.

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Just like me, thousands of small business owners across the country were feeling a level of distress as they were confronted with their own uncertain future.

In my attempt to ensure my small business came out the other side, I launched the Chooice Facebook Group to provide a platform for Kiwi small businesses to promote their products and services.

I didnt anticipate the number of small businesses that were in the same predicament as me.

Word spread fast and Chooice instantly took on a life of its own, with thousands of small businesses flocking to the Facebook group to promote their business.

Every-day Kiwis from across the country joined too, ready to put their hands in their pockets to support local.


Within three months the Facebook group amassed half-a-million members and at the height of it, there were 11,000 posts in the queue, with business owners waiting weeks to have a post approved.

Since then, Chooice has been able to keep over $1,000,000 circulating in our economy.

Chooice has created life-changing ripples that span across every corner of the country and has enabled many small businesses to thrive against all odds.

Owners have raved that theyve taken on more staff due to the number of orders they receive on a regular basis.

Many have taken on retailers across the country and in Australia. Others have moved into larger premises, and plans for growth that they had projected for three years out have been brought forward by a number of years.

Excitingly, a number of them have sent their products overseas for the first time.

But there is one particular story that has stuck with me.

This small business had started to gain momentum earlier in the year and they could finally see all of their hard work starting to pay off.

Then lockdown hit and people were cancelling their orders.

Their daughter had a heart defect, so they went into lockdown early and their household couldnt go to work due to the risk, which left them in financial hardship.

The owner explained that the orders they received from the Chooice Facebook group literally kept a roof over their heads and food on the table. Its for that reason that I continue to shop small and local.

As digital technology has made our shopping experience less relational, its easy to forget that shopping locally goes beyond simply receiving a quality product.

When you buy from a small business, theres real gratitude on the other end from a real Kiwi - and in some cases, its the thing thats kept their whnau fed and housed.

Looking to the future, Im passionate about continuing to grow Chooice and ensuring it is a sustainable platform that can support many more small Kiwi businesses to succeed, even long after Covid-19 ceases to be a problem.

We are fortunate to have the support of other Kiwi businesses that are committed to this as a shared goal, including 2degrees, who has been Fighting for Fair for Kiwi Business since 2011 and has recently come on board as a partner.

Their support, which includes 2degrees cash sponsorship, provision of mobile and broadband services and mutual support of key projects, is built on a shared philosophy of enabling small businesses to survive and thrive in New Zealand.

If you want to support awesome local businesses (or perhaps youre the owner of one), check out the Chooice Facebook group, or head to Chooice.co.nz.

This article was commissioned in response to a commercial partnership. We have produced it independently, to the same standards applied to the rest of our journalism. Read more about our partnership content here.

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