Christmas shopping is starting in earnest against a backdrop of the continuing Covid pandemic – and the aim of the Small Business Saturday UK campaign is to encourage people to 'Shop Local' and support small businesses in their communities.
With more than 90% of Derbyshire Dales businesses employing fewer than 10 people, small businesses are the lifeblood of the local economy.
See what independent shops in Matlock's Dale Road are doing.
For a 13th year, the District Council has introduced free parking after 2pm at its car parks throughout the month of December to boost the local economy - and is using its communications channels to get right behind the national campaign to support independent businesses by encouraging people to Shop Local this Christmas.
District Council Leader Councillor Garry Purdy said:
"Due to the continuing impact of the coronavirus our independent Derbyshire Dales businesses have never needed our support so desperately.
“Non-essential retail can operate in Tier 3 and our message to all our residents is to Shop Local this Christmas while observing Covid-safe guidelines and staying safe. Our free parking initiative is designed to boost local shops and businesses, not only on Small Business Saturday, but throughout the whole of December.”This initiative runs alongside other measures to support independents such as the Council-backed ShopAppy scheme.
Free parking comes on top of residents’ parking concessions that allow local people to park free every day of the year up to 11am and after 4pm. The residents' free parking permit is posted out annually to every household in the district.
Holly leads Campaign Shop Independent, a nationwide campaign supported by Natwest, Three, Dell, Royal Mail and Pinterest, which shines a light on small businesses, such as those on Dale Road.
A number of independent business owners on the road have started to consider how they can work together to ‘build back better’ after a difficult year where the Covid pandemic closed down high street shopping.
Early actions have been:
- to establish a WhatsApp group that now includes 15 businesses;
- to start to make representations to the local council about signage, Christmas lights and better support for the road;
- to contact the team behind Campaign Shop Independent.
After making an enquiry to buy stickers for the road, Catherine Brentnall, from Hide and Thread, at 117 Dale Rd, was invited to join Holly live on Instagram for Holly's Monday Morning Meet-ups.
View the Instagram video.
“Holly is an inspirational and energetic advocate for small business and she was really interested in how we business neighbours on Dale Rd have started to work together for the benefit of the whole street. When we were chatting, I described how special Dale Road is. In a world of carbon-copy high streets, we are on a road where every single business is an independent.”
During the chat, Holly gifted Dale Rd businesses 15 Campaign Independent stickers to kick start the businesses’ joint action. It marks a first success for the group, which will display the window stickers to draw attention to the independent ownership of businesses along the whole road.
Julie Birtwistle, from Annie’s Kitchen, at 71 Dale Rd, said:
“I watched the interview on Instagram live and felt quite emotional when Holly said she’d help like that. It was such a nice gesture and it meant that our first idea has got off to a flying start. People walking down the road will keep spotting these stickers and it will start to register, these sorts of businesses are not just part of the business landscape, but are owned by, and part of, the community.”Campaign Shop Independent founder Holly Tucker MBE said:
'I have pledged to spend the rest of my life supporting independents across the country and nothing brings me greater joy than seeing this wonderfully creative and colourful community coming together. It was such a pleasure to be able to amplify Catherine's wonderful efforts alongside her fellow independents and support all the Dale Road businesses. After an incredibly difficult year, independents need us more than ever, and so I urge everyone in Matlock to pledge to support your fellow local small businesses and shop from them this Christmas (and even better... all year round!)."Local Councillor Paul Cruise, from Matlock Town Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council, has been speaking with members of the group and has invited representation at the next full town council meeting in December. He said:
“I really back this campaign - our independent shops are the life blood of our local community - they offer great products and services with personality and flare. Local shopping is the best shopping.”