The outdoor craft market at the Locks Heath Shopping Village yesterday is one of the only Hampshire events running over the festive period that can provide a lifeline for small businesses.
Sarah Cotton, event organiser, said she wanted to ‘show that you can get a lot of what you need just from shopping local,’ and encouraged independent firms to book a stall.
Locks Heath based seller, Gordon Bennett, 78, said: ‘Markets like these are the main part of my business because it’s very difficult for people to get a feeling for what the product is unless they see it in person.’
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Gordon sells handcrafted candles imported from Eswatini, in southern Africa and known as Swaziland, is just five years old.
He has struggled over the last year due to national restrictions and the boom of online retail.
‘I think people are missing out if they don’t shop locally or support the locals,’ he said.
Sadie Bone, 31, from Wickham, attended the event out of curiosity. She said: ‘I often shop online as I find it more convenient but coming here and seeing the quality of some of the gifts has made me appreciate the work that must go into creating them.’
Alongside crafted goods, hot drinks and cakes were provided by Queenie, 36, the owner of mobile cafe Queenies’ Travelling Tea Pot.
Queenie, who lives in Gosport, catered events for Goodwood last year but has only been able to run one event in 2020.
She said: ‘I started delivering during the first lockdown, and I was heading out the door at 4am and driving nonstop on deliveries until 6pm every day.
‘Local businesses work so hard, and their whole life is their livelihoods, they don’t often get the support needed when things go wrong.
‘By supporting locally rather than shopping online, you’re actually supporting someone’s family.’
Debra and Paul Rogers, from Warsash, visited the market after seeing it advertised online.
‘I think it makes a change to see the variety of stalls. You can get something here that you couldn’t get in the shops.’ Debra said.
‘When you buy with small traders, there’s a personal touch that you don’t get on a large commercial scale. These items are specialised, and to us, it’s a thoughtful gift to give.’
There are already a handful of independent shops in the village such as a Butcher, Bakery, Hardware store and Wine Merchants.
The market will be held again at the Locks Heath Centre on Saturday, December 19.