Shop Local: ‘Anyone shopping local helps, but it shouldn’t just be for Christmas’
PUBLISHED: 06:30 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 07:47 22 October 2020
Copyright: Archant 2020
We’re asking you to get out and spend, spend, spend to support local shops this Christmas and beyond - and they can’t wait to welcome you.
This newspaper’s Shop Local campaign is a use-it-or-lose-it plea to shoppers to consider independent traders and businesses to give our much-loved high streets a life-saving boost.
And we want shoppers to not just hit the high street, but also to think local when shopping on the web, with so many local traders now offering online options.
At the heart of the campaign is an effort to keep money in the local economy.
Experts say that for every £1 spent at an independent business, 63p ends up staying here - compared to just 5p spent at a national or international retailer.
Business owners in Dereham and Fakenham were delighted at the campaign’s launch, and joined the rallying cry to Shop Local.
Nigel Maidstone, from Special Moments card and gift shop in Fakenham, stressed the importance of shopping local.
“It is always important to shop local or you will lose local businesses,” he said. “You use it or lose it and with everything happening this year it is all on a knife-edge.”
READ MORE: Time to do YOUR bit to save Norfolk Businesses
Mr Maidstone believes there are fewer window shoppers in the town, so people do not know what traders are selling.
The business owner has said that while support for the festive period would really help, people need to change their habits all year round.
“Anyone shopping local helps us, and it shouldn’t be just for Christmas because when you want the business one day they won’t be there anymore,” he said.
Close by, Fay Dewing, 55, the owner of Sew Sweets in Fakenham is preparing for her first Christmas at the shop since taking over in February.
She said it was going to be a tough year for independents.
“It would be great if people just pop in and see what we have to offer and to support everyone that is local because it’s going to be really hard for all of us,” she said.
During the Christmas period, the shop will have a specialist chocolate counter for people to make personalised gifts, as well as cake boards and tin and trimmings for any festive bakes.
Shop Local comes at a critical moment for the region with new data showing consumer spending is slowing.
Retail data specialists Springboard reported a 25.6pc fall in footfall in market towns across the East of England compared to pre-lockdown.
The data also showed weekend spending has increased since just before lockdown, up 8pc on mid-March.
Terry Langham, who has owned Terry’s Butchers on Nelson Place in Dereham with his wife, Colleen for 29 years, emphasised the ‘use it or lose it’ message.
“When you buy from us, you know that we source everything, from the lamb, chicken and pork to the pies and cakes we sell on the shelves,” he said.
“When you spend your money here, you’re truly keeping every pound in Norfolk.”
During lockdown, the family-run butchers stayed open to provide essentials to people and also created its online delivery service.
“Lots of people buy our Christmas hampers which contain a mix of meats to be used over Christmas time, but we’re asking people to book their meats as early as possible.
“We see an influx of people as they want to get good produce on the table for Christmas.
“This boost is great, but I hope people shop local all year round.”
Alex Flatt, the owner of Abigail’s Card and Gift Shop, next door to the butchers, spoke of the support they had received since re-opening after lockdown.
She said: “We have had a very busy few weeks which is great as we really rely on our regulars and locals as a business.
“When you go to other towns and the shops are all shut it can be quite depressing, It’s so important to shop local and keep our towns affluent.
“Abigail’s is now fully stocked for Christmas with so many new and beautiful products such as Nellies Wax melts, Yankie Candles, Wrendale, Nordic lights and Disney gifts.
“If you don’t see something on the shelf, please tell us what you need as we may be able to order it in for you.”
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