Small Business Saturday was held on 7th December to celebrate small business success and to encourage customers to ‘shop local’ and support businesses in their communities. This seemed a good excuse to talk about the local shops in our community.
UK consumers have taken to online shopping with enthusiasm, spending more online than any other European country. Since 2006 online sales have grown each year, reaching 20% of total retail sales in December ‘18. The newspaper headlines tell us of the death of the high street and of town centres becoming derelict. But it doesn’t have to be like this.
High streets are at the heart of the community and are our “original social network”, providing a space in which communities are able to mix freely. This is especially important for more vulnerable or isolated groups; high streets can act as a real focal point for community activity.
Sedgefield and the surrounding villages have a number of unique and distinctive shops alongside traditional businesses. You can do your weekly shop at one of the supermarkets, then get that special treat, or maybe several, at one of the smaller speciality shops.
The latest, a ‘green’ greengrocer, has just opened its doors in Sedgefield The Juicy Pear sells vegetables, fruit, dry foods, herbs, spices, nuts, cheese, bread, and greener personal and household items.
Every month a flourishing farmers’ market takes place on the Sedgefield Village Green, with fresh produce provided by local growers.
There are a host of lovely shops to find a special gift from handmade confectionary to eye-catching clothing. But it’s not all about boutique shopping. Our villages have a great selection of hairdressers, estate agents, opticians, post offices, corner shops and much more.
You can take a break from all that retail therapy with a quick bite to eat in a cosy tea shop, or perhaps have something more substantial in one of the restaurants and pubs.
The internet may be convenient, but it doesn’t offer the community experience of a visit to your local town or village, with the chance to catch up with friends or just to grab a cup of coffee.
Ensuring that local shops thrive and can compete in the digital age is a complex problem, but the one thing we can all do to make sure they survive is to go and visit them.
We are looking for someone to attend the monthly Farmers’ Market alongside the market manager, with a view to helping on a regular basis and developing new ideas for this increasingly successful project.
You’re welcome to “try before you buy” so if you are interested in coming along on Sunday January 5th, call Roger Clubley for a chat on 07803 269956.