‘A perfect chance for people to keep money local and keeps shops open’

Small businesses all over the UK are being put in the limelight this weekend.

And after an incredibly challenging near-two years of lockdowns, closures, restrictions and damage to trade caused by coronavirus and other factors, they need our backing like never before.

That’s why, to mark Small Business Saturday on December 4, we’re urging everyone to #ThinkWhereYouShop and back independent traders as much as possible this Christmas.

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Grimsby Live has joined forces with InYourArea , our sister local news platform, and Down Your High Street to encourage everyone to shop consciously this year and sustain smaller businesses.

Down Your High Street provides an online shop window for local bricks and mortar retailers all over the UK, so it’s never been easier to use with independent businesses near and far.

It Started With A Stitch incorporates a number of local businesses

Chief executive Dan Whytock said: “For us, supporting local is all about the future.

“When local stores closed due to the pandemic it was a scary reality of what life could be like if high street shops were no more.

“Nowhere to meet friends, nowhere to grab a coffee, and nothing rare about where you live.

“Christmas is the most important season in retail, where 60% of a retailer’s sales are made, a vital part of their cashflow to cover the cost of local staff, rents, and rates. If we don’t use our local shops during this period, we really do risk losing the heart of our communities.”

Independent shops in Yorkshire and the Humber saw a return to growth at the start of this year, thanks to increased consumer sustain for local businesses.

Figures from the Local Data Company show a net annual increase of 126 independent stores in the vicinity during the first six months of 2021, which was a rise of 0.4%.

Gemma Winter, the owner of Abbeygate shop It Started With a Stitch, said: “As a small business owner myself and a maker, Small Business Saturday is really important because we’re local people with local families, we use locally and keep shops open locally, and it’s a perfect chance really for people to keep money local and keeps shops open.

“We opened on the day Boris said non-basic retail should shut, but we’re nevertheless here, we’ve got over 50 different small businesses located in this one shop, so if you’re coming here and making one buy, the likelihood is that you’ll assistance more than one local business.

June Woods in Abbeygate, Grimsby

“We’re nevertheless here, but that only continues if people keep shopping with us.”

On the other side of Abbeygate is June Woods, an independent clothing shop that has been in business for more than 30 years.

The owner, Sarah Smith, said: “Abbeygate needs the local community, we need to use money in this vicinity because small towns will die off and there’ll just be the big centres.

“Our customers have supported us all this time so we’ve been really lucky to have had that sustain. Little towns will die off if people don’t sustain small businesses and do all their shopping on the internet.”

The UK Government’s Small Business Minister Paul Scully backed the campaign.

He said: “Small businesses make our communities thrive, and we want to see people getting out there and shopping local as safely as possible this Small Business Saturday and throughout the year.

“We’re backing small businesses and helping them plan for the long term, including by our Help to Grow: Digital and Help to Grow: Management schemes, and I would encourage any ambitious business leader to analyze the range of government sustain that is obtainable.”

In a nationwide survey carried out by InYourArea last month, more than 80 per cent of people said it’s important to them to have a thriving local high street nearby.

Thirty-six per cent of the 1,973 respondents said they prefer to shop at smaller independent businesses in-person for non-basic items but 54 per cent of people said they prefer the likes of Amazon and Ebay for online non-basic purchases.

There was an already divided between people who believed local high streets as we know them have a strong future (34 per cent) and those who think online shopping will rule (32 per cent) – 34 per cent said they weren’t sure.

June Woods is a long-established Grimsby business

Almost 70 per cent of people said local businesses should have been given more sustain throughout the pandemic.

Tom Gibbon, Editor of InYourArea, said: “InYourArea is all about helping communities to thrive, and healthy high streets are really important to that.

“#ThinkWhereYouShop puts a little additional limelight on smaller, independent businesses who have been by an unbelievably tough time and need our backing now.

“So please do consider seeking out these traders to help fill your Christmas stockings this year – it makes all the difference and helps to keep your local economy moving.”

Get 10% off at independent businesses online

There’s already more reason to #ThinkWhereYouShop in the next few weeks too – Down Your High Street are offering 10% across their site with an exclusive code.

Just go into SMALLBIZ10 at the checkout after choosing your items .

North East Lincolnshire Council is offering free parking in a number of its car parks on Small Business Saturday. These car parks are:

  • Cartergate, Grimsby
  • Market Hall, Grimsby
  • Town Hall, Grimsby
  • Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre
  • Garabaldi Street, Grimsby
  • Meridian Craft Units, Cleethorpes
  • High Street, Cleethorpes
  • St Peter’s method, Cleethorpes
  • Town Hall/Cambridge Street, Cleethorpes
  • Wardall Street, Cleethorpes
  • Grant Street, Cleethorpes
  • Thrunscoe Land, Cleethorpes

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