INDEPENDENT businesses across the area welcomed heavy footfall through their doors as customers flocked to show their support.
Small Business Saturday gave firms the chance to showcase what they offer.
For us, it is so important to support and promote independent businessesJacqui Unal
Across the area, butchers, florists and cafes celebrated an increase in customers and people starting their Christmas shopping.
Jacqui Unal, owner of the Fourteas Tea Rooms in Havant, said: ‘We were very busy.
‘There was lots of festive spirit in the air and it was a lovely day.
‘This is the first year we have taken part in Small Business Saturday after Havant MP Alan Mak suggested we do it. For us, it is so important to support and promote independent businesses – they don’t get enough support.’
Mr Mak spent the day visiting 15 small businesses in his constituency, including Seaside Florist in Hayling Island and CJ Meats Butchers on West Street in Havant.
He said: ‘Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and I am proud to support this event again.
‘I ran my own Small Business Awards earlier this year and will be doing so again in 2017 to showcase the hard work and good service they give to our community.’
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond has visited a host of retailers and firms in the city.
She visited the Castle Road Christmas Fair to meet local craftspeople and traders. The MP then went to Revive Interiors, also in Castle Road, to talk to talk to owner Lorraine Randell about the event and issues in retailing. Mrs Randell said ‘It’s all about encouraging people to shop in their local high street and support their community businesses and it’s also a great way to get out and about and meet your neighbours’
Mrs Drummond went on to visit to the new Cafe au Cinema in Osborne Road.
She said: ‘It was great to many of these entrepreneurs running successful shops and talk to them about business and what can be done to make their lives easier. I will be feeding what they told me back to ministers.’
Elsewhere, Dominic Joyce, from Dominic Joyce Art in Milton, said: ‘It is a chance to network and meet other businesses and publicise each other.
‘The whole day is a great idea.’
Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, said small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. She added: ‘They have the power to drive us ahead in the global race. That is why I’m proud to back Small Business Saturday which will get people in through the doors of our independent retailers.
‘This is a great opportunity for Christmas shopping in some of the fantastic independent retailers in Gosport, Lee-on-the-Solent, Hill Head and Stubbington.’