How supporting the local, independent food retailers of Stockbridge, Edinburgh contributes to an individual’s identity and that of the community
The UK’s rapidly changing grocery retail sector and the demise of the UK high street has led to a sharp decline in the number of local independent retailers. This study aimed to determine whether supporting the local independent food retailers in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh contributed towards an individual’s identity and that of the community’s. A mixed methods approach was adopted where an online questionnaire completed by shoppers led to exploratory interviews of local food shop workers. Shopping in the local independent food shops of Stockbridge enabled individuals to express their identity through being seen to support local retailers, thus reflecting their moral values and building a sense of community. The main motivations behind using the local independent food shops were quality and service whilst they key contribution the local independent food shops made to the community emerged as their role as a hub where social interaction and relationship building took place. Furthermore their uniqueness and longstanding reputations contributed towards the area’s identity which was found to be attractive not only to Stockbridge residents but also to outsiders. These traits should be recognised and utilised by independent retailers not only as a way to survive but as a way to gain a competitive advantage against the nationwide supermarkets whether they be in the form of local outlets or of larger out-of town stores. Further research into other independent local retailers and other food-based outlets in inner city communities would strengthen this paper’s findings.