Famous slogan adapted for independent shops in Southwold
Independent businesses in Southwold have adopted a classic clarion call urging people to think before they shop in the lead up to Christmas.
The local chamber of commerce is urging visitors to Keep Calm and Shop Independent as the busiest trading period of the year approaches.
The appeal comes as Southwold prepares for the impending arrival of WH Smith to the town centre, and a month after campaigners protested outside the newly-opened Tesco Express store, claiming the chain had gone back on an agreement to protect independent shops.
Guy Mitchell, sub-postmaster and chairman of the Southwold and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: 'With WH Smith busy fitting out its store and due to open at the end of November or beginning of December, we are keen to let people know that there are independent shops in Southwold that will offer pretty much everything they need.
'We want them to think about how they shop and not be conditioned to using national chains.
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'Southwold is no exception to a growing national trend, but we pride ourselves on independence and want people to enjoy shopping here – we achieve that by giving visitors something they might not get at home.
'The danger is that national chains force Southwold to look like every other town,' Mr Mitchell added.
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Last month, more than 20 residents and shopkeepers stood with posters and leaflets outside the new Tesco Express store, in Queen Street, claiming the chain had reneged on a promise to not sell newspapers, magazines or greetings cards.
Tesco said it had not agreed not to sell certain products, but said it had listened to local concerns and was only stocking a 'basic' range of newspapers and magazines.
As revealed in the EDP last week, concerns have also has been raised over plans to turn the building that houses the Cornucopia Antiques shop into a home.
An application has been submitted to Waveney District Council to convert the premises, also known as the Old Bakehouse Store, in Blackmill Road.
The building is currently home to Cornucopia Antiques, which is run by a group of seven people who lease a room for the shop.
The chamber of trade and the Southwold and Reydon Society have both expressed concerns about the potential loss of a business premises in the town.
Meanwhile, Mr Mitchell said there appeared to be 'no substance' to a rumour that a major national coffee chain was set to move into Southwold.