Small business group backs our Shop Local campaign to help traders thrive

(l-r) Caroline Collings-Wood from Portsmouth & South East Hampshire Branch Committee of the Federation of Small Business, Denise Burns owner of If It Races, and business owner Betty Burns. ''Small Business Saturday. Pictured at If It Races, North End Portsmouth.' 'Small Business Saturday.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (133386-666)
(l-r) Caroline Collings-Wood from Portsmouth & South East Hampshire Branch Committee of the Federation of Small Business, Denise Burns owner of If It Races, and business owner Betty Burns. ''Small Business Saturday. Pictured at If It Races, North End Portsmouth.' 'Small Business Saturday.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (133386-666)
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THE chairwoman of the area’s Federation of Small Businesses has put her support behind The News’ Shop Local campaign.

Yesterday, the paper launched the campaign to encourage readers to embrace independent businesses to keep money and jobs in the local community.

Caroline Collings-Wood, the organisation’s chairwoman, explained why she is backing the aims of the campaign.

‘It is absolutely great that The News is launching this campaign,’ she said. ‘The more that The News can continue keeping trade and shopping locally on the agenda, the better. It is imperative to our local economy that people do shop locally.’

‘The FSB is running Keep Trade Local which we are campaigning tirelessly on.

‘We at the FSB are trying to help people understand that the benefits of maintaining good local businesses is key to diversity on the high street. It creates local jobs so has a positive impact on the environment by lowering the carbon footprint.

‘We know that independent traders generally give a better standard of customer service. They go that extra mile for people.

‘Contrary to common perception, independent shops are often very reasonably priced.’

Small businesses have also pledged their support for the campaign.

Colin Hewitt has run Pretoria News in Haslemere Road in Southsea for the past 22 years. He is also backing the campaign to encourage readers to support the area’s independent retailers.

He said: ‘It is a very good idea. It is bringing independent retailers back into people’s minds.

‘I always say, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

‘I have been here for 22 years, and have been supporting the local community since I opened.

‘When we moved here, there were about seven other shops in the area. We’re the only one left.

‘Now we have the likes of Spar, Tesco, One Stop and the Co-op.’

‘All the old stores that were here years ago have left.

‘We have a lot of community support. We are like a hub in the middle.

‘We have watched people grow up.

‘You don’t get this sort of personal service when you go to a chain store.

‘We offer a friendly service to local people. Most of the people who use us know us all. We have watched families move in and settle here. That is something that you get nowhere else.’