SHOPPERS are being called on to support local businesses and back their high streets.
Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday – a national campaign to get us going to our local traders instead of relying on supermarkets and big brands.
As The News’ business rates campaign got a boost this week, we are calling readers to do their bit and help keep the local economy alive.
Retailers and other independent businesses will be pulling out all the stops across the Portsmouth area to secure the future of local high streets.
Marie Welsby, who owns Glam & Glitz Boutique in Albert Road, Southsea, said she will be offering a 10 per cent discount on Saturday to encourage people to use local shops.
She said: ‘I believe independent shops offer good value for money and offer individual and unique items.
‘I hand pick everything I sell and I am very, very reasonable with my prices.
‘I only buy small quantities of things so that you don’t see everybody wearing the same things.
‘There is a huge selection and I sell clothes from sizes six to 26 -–you don’t get that anywhere else.
‘Sometimes I will just pick up one item. I get to know my customers and when I am out buying items, I think of the things they would like to buy.
‘I have been running the business for four months now and I am taking part in Small Business Saturday to back local businesses.
‘People go to high street brands and supermarkets and we want to say there is free parking outside our shops and we offer something different to them.
‘I would really like to make more people aware of their independent local shops.’
Peter Paterson, from All Seasons Fruit and Veg shop in Lee-on-the-Solent’s high street is also taking part.
He said: ‘I think it’s a great idea to get other businesses involved with this event, and I will be selling local produce too.’
Marie Telford, owner of The Hayling Island Bookshop, lobbied Havant Borough Council to provide free parking to encourage shoppers into the town on Small Business Saturday.
She said: ‘There is clear evidence that people are willing to change their personal shopping habits and shop locally providing we can demonstrate the right balance of value and personal service.’
Caroline Collings-Wood, chairwoman of Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, and the owner of Stafford Rhodes Group in Milton, said spending just £1 more a week in an independent retailer can secure 6,000 jobs in small businesses.
‘We have been campaigning to get people to shop locally for the last seven years,’ she said.
‘If everyone spent £1 more a week in a local shop you would create 6,000 more jobs for people to work in small businesses.
‘Every single pound counts for these businesses. It is just amazing what can be done. Small businesses are a lifeline in any community. Even if you look at places like Albert Road and Marmion Road in Southsea, there is such a variety of shops. Small Business Saturday is like the Black Friday for local shops, but it is not just one day that we need to support them.’
High streets minister and Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt will be visiting traders in Southampton, Portsmouth, Hayling Island and Havant.
She said: ‘What I see when I go around the country is traders finding unique ways to work. I think there have been some really great ideas on how small businesses can excel. I am going to be visiting small business on Saturday to help give them a boost.’
Raft of deals on offer to entice shoppers to city
A WEALTH of events and special offers are being put on by retailers across Portsmouth tomorrow.
A Christmas art and gift fair will take place at The King Street Tavern in King Street, Southsea, from 11am to 5pm to help give local artists a place to sell their wares.
Eight artists will have their seasonal gifts on sale, along with mulled cider and music playing throughout the day.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, said: ‘We’ll be doing our bit, and we also want to encourage all kinds of small businesses to get involved, whether they’re a family business, local shop, online business wholesaler or small manufacturer.
‘Ideas for celebrating the day include special discounts, dressing up, themed window displays or giveaways like cupcakes and goody bags.’
High streets minister and Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt will be visiting a number of independent shops during the day to show support for traders.
Meanwhile selected council car parks around Portsmouth will be free to use tomorrow in a bid to encourage residents to use their local shopping streets.
Car parks in Wootton Street and London Road in Cosham; Stubbington Avenue in North End, Ashby Place in Southsea and Clarence Street in the city centre will be free to use from midnight tonight for 24 hours.
Parking spaces along Fratton Road in Fratton will also be free to use.
INDEPENDENT traders have welcomed the Small Business Saturday initiative.
Specialist traders along West Street hope the event will shine a spotlight on the street and encourage people to shop there.
There are a wide range of specialists shops in that area of Fareham, including In With The In Crowd, a mod 1960s clothing shop run by Melissa and Tim Paulton.
Melissa, who opened the shop two years ago, said: ‘To get any kind of recognition and promotion is great.’
Also welcoming the initiative was Kim Hayman, of The Boutique Haberdashery, which opened three months ago. Kim said: ‘People should give small businesses a chance, they’ll have an interesting experience.’
‘This is giving something back’
THERE will be a free parking bonanza across the Havant and Waterlooville area.
Every council car park in Havant, Waterlooville, Leigh Park, Emsworth and Hayling Island will have three hours of free parking.
The Meridian Centre in Havant is also offering free parking all day at its main car park, as well as the multi-storey in Bulbeck Road.
Rob Fryer, manager of the Meridian Centre, said: ‘We need to try and draw people in.
‘We are trying to support traders, both in the town and in the centre itself.
‘It’s difficult for everybody and we hope it will help the customers. It’s an all-round win-win hopefully.
‘It’s about giving something back.’
Marie Telford, who runs The Hayling Island Bookshop in Mengham, said: ‘The parking offer is a great opportunity for Havant borough’s small businesses to meet customers old and new and demonstrate the quality of their personal service.’
In Denmead there will be the launch of a loyalty card. The Denmead Village Card will give loyal shoppers the chance of being entered into a monthly prize draw to win prizes and vouchers from the seven participating businesses.
Richard Almond, of Speedymech Garage Services, said: ‘It’s nice to be able to join together with other local businesses in rewarding all of the loyal customers who continue to support Denmead.’
Small shops offer ‘personal touch’
BUSINESSES in Gosport are preparing to convince shoppers to ditch the internet and large supermarkets.
Firms in Gosport town centre and in Lee-on-the-Solent are keen to get people into their shops on Saturday.
Nick Carter, from award-winning Absolute Running, in Stoke Road, Gosport, is offering discounts for the day.
He said: ‘Sometimes you can’t beat the small personal touch.
‘I’m sure we’ll see our regular band of customers but hopefully we’ll attract more.’
The sports shop is one of many along Stoke Road taking part in the annual event on Saturday.
Nick has high hopes for the road and wants to see it flourish like Albert Road in Southsea, Portsmouth.
He said: ‘It’s a very similar persuasion to Albert Road.
‘That’s what we’re trying to create in Stoke Road.’
Debbie Watts, from Solent Mobility, in Lee-on-the-Solent is running a voucher scheme for the day.
She is the chairwoman of Lee Business Association, made up of shops and firms in the town.
Anyone spending more than £50 will be given a £5 token to spend in one of ten shops in Lee.
She said: ‘There are too many people losing business with the bigger supermarkets being allowed to sell specialist products.
‘We’ve got the customer service and the one-to-one with people.
‘With bigger supermarkets it’s all hustle and bustle, you don’t have the interaction.
‘To keep the high street going we’ve got to shop locally otherwise we will lose the high street shops.’
Lee was due to have more than 30 stalls in the high street tonight with a closure in place between 4pm and 8pm.
To read The News’ view on this click here.