Time to do YOUR bit to save local businesses

Shopping local has never been so important - Archant says we need to use our indies or lose them.
Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Shopping local has never been so important - Archant says we need to use our indies or lose them. Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

This newspaper has launched the Shop Local campaign in a bid to spark a spending spree at our independents this Christmas.

Our beloved local shops and businesses face a long, hard winter – one some might not survive.

But you can save them.

Today we launch Shop Local, a campaign urging shoppers to get out on the high street or on the web and spend with the region’s independents.

During the darkest days of lockdown they pivoted to keep us fed, clothed and occupied – now we must step up and spend big with them this Christmas.

Coronavirus has hit many businesses hard. But we cannot stand by and watch them pull down the shutters for the last time.

Suffolk and north Essex have too much to lose.

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If we lose businesses we lose jobs and wealth – and money spent locally stays local.

Now is the time: Spend, spend, spend with our independents.

Starting a business is a brave decision.

You can never truly take time off when you are the ultimate boss.

The weight of making sure all the employees get paid rests squarely on the boss’ shoulders.

But without these risk takers our region would be far worse off.

Independent businesses and traders are a huge part of the rich tapestry that makes Suffolk and north Essex such a great place.

They generate wealth. They offer an alternative to the often faceless modern shopping experience.

But our vital, vibrant and varied independent sector faces an existential crisis.

To be frank, for many businesses this Christmas could be the last.

A perfect storm of the changing face of the high street coupled with spiking business rates and a year blighted by lockdowns will claim more victims.

But over the coming weeks we will be outlining the challenges facing independents – and highlighting what needs to happen so they can survive and thrive.

We will take the fight to government. We will explore how retailers and can unlock new revenues streams. And we will tell countless stories of hard graft.

And you can do your bit as well. Shops and stores will disappear if the default is to pick up a mobile phone and do all the Christmas shopping with multi-national mega corporations. Your hard-earned money will be lost from the regional economy.

So use them. Or we will lose them.