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Evan creates ‘cool’ shop local initiative

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Novocastrian, author and speaker Evan Sutter is passionate about rejuvenating small business in the region.

So much so, he’s created a new shop local project that’s aiming to revitalise the sector, along with the community and our natural environment.

The One Cool Thing + Happy Business Initiative is focused on giving small enterprises more resources, and ideas, to easily improve their venture.

It’s also aiming to enhance how they interact with their employees, the environment, the community and customers.

And, according to Evan, connect them with more people, visitors and job candidates who can easily identify them as a business that is doing more.

“Right now, small businesses and our local communities need all the support they can get,” he said.

“As more people move to an online world to shop, eat and work, we face more challenges.

“While the cyber world becomes increasingly innovative, driving record growth in participation, we must find new ways to encourage everyone to spend their time and money back in the local community.”

The Hapzly founder saw a need to be more engaging when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), especially when it concerns small businesses and local communities.

He thought that making it simple and engaging would be a better way to connect the top-down and the bottom-up aspects of business.

Current CSR initiatives (from the top-down) engage economic, social and environmental aspects, but lack the “human” factor, so it doesn’t engage everyday people well.

Conscious consumerism (from the bottom-up) can fail to engage wider populations of people, and certainly doesn’t engage business, so they fail to create lasting impact for their business and communities.

“The goal is to give residents more reasons to spend their time and money locally and not online and at big corporations,” Evan said.

“It is our hope that the result will be a business precinct that is more creative offline, with less vacant shops, more foot traffic and re-energised streets.

“We can’t just tell people to shop local, we need to provide more incentive for them to do so.

“When we see local businesses, and we know the faces behind them, doing that little bit more to look after our friends and our planet, we should want to support them more than the big company that doesn’t really care about the future of our community and ecosystems.”

The Mayfield Business Improvement Association is fully-supportive of Evan’s concept.

“This project aims to give business owners new ideas for improving themselves while building support networks and trust with employees, customers and the wider community,” chair Warren Pulbrook said.

“The idea is to kick-start greater connection from business to consumer and create a community of care and support.”

Kath Teagle, a director of the Mayfield Medical Centre, agrees.

“Now more than ever, it is important for people to feel connected,” she said.

“COVID-19, and its subsequent lockdown, left a lot of people feeling isolated and anxious.

“Some were stressed when first returning to work given the new government health guidelines.

“The overall feeling during this time is that people want to support their small local businesses.

“This makes it easier.”

The One Cool Thing + Happy Business Initiative simply encourages businesses to commit to implementing a new idea that benefits their people, planet, customers or community

(which all benefits their business) from more than 100 ideas in “The Ideas Pool”.

There, they will access guided meditations to look after the wellbeing of their employees, get branding and marketing to promote their business, including the Happy Business sticker to attract shoppers seeking an ethical and sustainable business.

“The ‘happiest businesses’ will be recognised across social media, in The Ideas Pool, on the Hapzly website and at the Coolest and Happiest awards,” Evan said.

“If you are in the Mayfield area and would like to participate, go to https://hapzly.com.au/ and sign up in under three minutes.

“It’s simple, fun and important.”

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