Amazon doesn’t have it all, says economic development councillor Marta Bañuls

“The challenge of reviving traditional trade needs everyone: the administrations, the associations, the traders themselves and the town’s neighborhoods.”

Tuesday 31st May 2022 – Mike Smith
Source: press release – Ajuntament de Xàbia

Amazon doesn’t have it all. So says councillor Marta Bañuls, responsible for Economic Development in Xàbia in her report on the resounding success of the second edition of the Marina Alta Stock Fair that was held in the town last Saturday, adding the online shopping giant lacks the proximity, human warmth, and quality in seller-customer relationship.

She explained that more than 40 businesses from across the Marina Alta gathered in the port zone of Xàbia to demonstrate the full potential of local trade in the region, showcasing the real thing, the closeness, what gives life to the villages and what thousands of families live on.

She said that the enclosure in Avenida Jaime I was “crowded” and by 10.00am it had become a river of people. Not every bought, she admitted. But they enjoyed the atmosphere of the market and saw the stock on offer from shops that they probably didn’t know about before and that they will probably visit soon.

We cannot abandon this type of business, which is genuine and different from the big chains as they are the soul of the commercial fabric of the towns [in the region],” she said, adding that “they are the essence of our neighbourhoods with quality products and personalised treatment, advising, suggesting and giving solution to any problem of the clientele“.

Little by little, especially since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, “we have become an ‘a la carte’ society which buys from the couch, encouraging a sedentary lifestyle which benefits the large multinationals that don’t return the profits [into the community]“.

She said that she felt that it was necessary to recover the Mediterranean habits such as going out of the house to walk around the village and “go shopping“, the “customs that breathe life into the population, that are beneficial for our health and for our social relations and that, in turn, make the money roll and end up being a benefit for all. Because you go to a shop, you buy a shirt and then the shopkeeper comes to your coffee shop for breakfast. Everything stays inside the house and this is what make the village alive“.

Bañuls declared that events such as the Marina Alta Stock Fair gives optimism that a lifelong trend change is possible, that people are becoming more aware that supporting small business is necessary and benefits us collectively.

Administrations such as the town hall in Xàbia do everything in our power to help the trade to have a good showcase that allows them to show off their product and we plan actions that encourage people to leave home and not buy from the sofa“.

She added that when they do, there is always have a good social response. Examples include the Easter Craft Fair, the Christmas Trade Fair, and now this new release of stock and products from past seasons with attractive discounts. “It’s money well spent on what we think is a double investment: both in terms of what moves those days, directly to the participants and indirectly to other businesses in the village, and in terms of future promotion and attracting new customers. And here we are,” she said.

But the challenge of reviving traditional trade needs everyone: the administrations, the associations, the traders themselves and the town’s neighborhoods. Because at the door of his business, it is the trader who must offer good quality at competitive prices, adapting schedules and working models to current trends, showing strength and cohesion as an economic sector. And finally, the neighborhood must be aware that with our daily shopping in small shops and not in large chains, we help families, improve people’s lives and help make our life and our town more attractive and alive.

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