AS MILLIONS of Americans celebrated Independence Day, shops and businesses took advantage of the similar sounding name and held their very own independents’ day.
Independent retailers in Southsea and Bishop’s Waltham held events to mark the day yesterday and to celebrate everything good about small businesses.
Shops, cafes and salons stayed open late and put on special one-day offers, hosted entertainment, held events and gave away freebies.
The Southsea event saw independent businesses in Castle Road, Marmion Road and Albert Road take part.
Clothes shop Dress Code, restaurant Amo Solo and antique shop Parmiters, were among the many businesses taking part in Albert Road.
Dress Code owner, Linda Fitzgerald, said: ‘Days like these are important because they raise the profile of independent shops. Independent shops are important because they add variety and people would miss them when they’re gone.’
Tony Wood Hair salon, Delaney’s sandwich shop and cafe 101 Reykjavík, were among the many independents on Castle Road that took part.
Tony Wood, of Tony Wood Hair, has run a salon in Castle Road for nearly 25 years.
Mr Wood, 46, said: ‘It was one of the busiest days that we have had. There’s a real network of local businesses and there is strength in us supporting each other.’
The nationwide Independents’ Day campaign, organised by the National Skills Academy for Retail, is now in its third year.
Over in Bishop’s Waltham, children took part in a treasure hunt, which led them on a trail around the town centre.
Antiques expert and television personality John Cameron also made an appearance, as did Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery.
Mr Hollingbery said: ‘It was a great day. A whole bunch of independent traders put in a real effort to attract lots of people into the town.
‘Bishop’s Waltham has a likelihood of Sainsbury’s opening soon so the independent traders have really had to test their mettle and think about how they can compete and find a way to draw people into the town, working as a team really shows what the town has to offer.’