‘Neighbouring Business’, a label of closeness
In May 2012, the Neighbours Festival was held for the 12th consecutive year. City halls, local charities and most of all residents are taking part more and more in this neighbourly rally. To reinforce the social links in neighbourhoods, the manifesto for neighbouring services and businesses launched the label ‘Neighbouring Business’.
“It’s because we don’t just have a commercial relationship with our local shopkeeper, his presence livens up our neighbourhood on a daily basis. Our local shopkeeper is first and foremost our neighbour”: that is the beginning of the manifesto for proximity.
The label ‘Neighbouring Business’ is designed to remind people of the advantages of local business: it’s essential for economic dynamism, employment but also social links and neighbourhood solidarity.
A ‘Neighbouring Business’ will therefore be a local shopkeeper who commits to offering his clients and neighbours a relationship that goes beyond the classic trader’s role. It’s not about charity work for the shopkeeper, but simply maintaining good relations with his neighbours: ensuring that older customers are well when they don’t pop in for a while, returning keys to a child who has forgotten them, warning the local neighbour that he forgot to close his window, listening to their customers’ news…
This innovative concept is appealing for local businesses: it shows the human side of the relationship, which is not simply between customer and shopkeeper, but also between residents of the same neighbourhood, and therefore the same community. Atanase Périfan, founder of the Neighbours Festival, as well as United Neighbours, explains: “The local businessman is everybody’s neighbour, the man you can trust in the neighbourhood, the town. Like United Neighbours, ‘United Businesses’ will maintain the social link between businesses and residents on a daily basis.”