Video: Shoppers out in force to celebrate Aldeburgh’s independent traders
THERE was a party atmosphere yesterday as shoppers turned out in force to celebrate a seaside resort’s independent traders.
The High Street in Aldeburgh was lined with bunting and balloons as visitors were treated to a special day of discounts and demonstrations.
The Independents Day was held to celebrate the town’s unique character and diversity of shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs.
It was opened by local food campaigner Lady Caroline Cranbrook who is a staunch supporter of independent retailers and their importance in communities.
She said: “I know Aldeburgh very well. I shop here very often. We are here to celebrate Aldeburgh, its people and its independent businesses and particularly its shops. There are 100 small, independent shops in this town, which is a remarkable number. At least four have been here since the Second World War.
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“These businesses are very important to the town for all sorts of reasons. They are at the heart and soul of the community.
“They also give identity to the town, while the density of retailers, restaurants, cafes and pubs encourages people to visit and other businesses to do likewise.”
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Lady Cranbrook said independent stores were vital to the local economy as most food businesses - including the likes of Copella and Bernard Matthews - start small and can only thrive if there are lots of small shops selling their products.
“Their economic importance also cannot be over emphasised,” she added. “Every pound spent in a local shop is re-spent three times before it leaves the local area. If spent in a multi-national it has left the country within seconds. They also provide three times as many jobs as supermarkets.
“It is up to all of us to ensure Aldeburgh remains this lively, busy town.”
The day was organised by Claire Bruce-Clayton, of Lawson’s Delicatessen, and Sue Fletcher, of ladies fashion boutique Caramel, with the support of Aldeburgh Business Association (ABA).
Along with various demonstrations and discounts, mayor Peter Cox also took a shift serving behind the counter in some shops.
Meanwhile, Ermintrude, a 1929 vintage bus, ran a shuttle service between the residential areas of Aldeburgh and the High Street.
Fears have been expressed in recent weeks that Aldeburgh could be in danger of becoming a “clone town” - with both Tesco and Boots interested in opening stores in the resort.
Naomi Tarry, chairman of the ABA, said 400 people had signed a petition in support of Aldeburgh’s independent stores in just four days.
N There will be public meeting on Wednesday at 7pm in the Jubilee Hall where people will be able to have their say on Tesco’s plans for Aldeburgh. All are welcome.