Why Small Business Saturday is good for us all
Small Business Saturday, launched in the UK last year, returns on Saturday, December 6 and, as one of the ‘little guys’ on the high street, I hope you’ll support it.
It’s for family businesses, local shops, cafes/restaurants and service businesses and last year, according to sponsors American Express, 43 per cent of shoppers chose specifically to shop at local independent businesses.
Those people spent an average of £33 each, putting £468m back into the local economy while also inspiring small businesses to do more to improve their offer still further.
It’s important that the high street retains its identity and has a good mix of independents alongside the big chains – we don’t want Melton to become a ‘clone town’ but to have a character and atmosphere all of its own.
King Street is a good example of this. At the top of the street, on the corner with Market Place, you’ll find WH Smith and Vodafone but venture along it and you’ll find a wide variety of independents.
On one side you have a snooker club, two cafes, antiques centre, music shop, cake maker, barber shop, chocolatier, church centre, gift shop, takeaway and butchers. On the other you have three hair and beauty salons, a tattooist, ladies’ fashion boutique, art shop, bridal shop, florists, sports shop, toy shop, cinema and a popular music pub.
At an independent there’s a direct link between the name above the door and the person behind the counter which means you should get the very best customer service. They will most likely also sell things you won’t see in the bigger chain stores and, unlike online, you can ‘try before you buy’.
It’s good to see the Melton Times and its publisher Johnston Press supporting the high street through its Shop, Eat, Play Local campaign. It is currently petitioning the Government to conduct a complete overhaul of the outdated business ratings system.
Melton Borough Council and the Melton BID (Business Improvement District) are also being pro-active. Melton has been chosen as one of only four English towns to take part in a national pilot project focussing on town centre investment in early 2015.
The concept is to pool town centre assets and manage them as a single entity to help create the high street of the future, acknowledging the fact that a vibrant town centre is critical in helping us achieve a strong and sustainable local economy.
So, what will you be doing on Saturday, December 6 and, hopefully, all year round? Thank you for supporting Small Business Saturday and joining the growing band of people who ‘get it’ with regard to our town centres.