Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers urged to buy and back local business

By Shauna Corr

A NEW UK-wide campaign urging shoppers to stay local is hitting the streets of south Belfast and Castlereagh this Saturday, December 7.

In a move that they hope will bring shoppers back to their local stores; retailers, business groups and traders are all banding together for Small Business Saturday.

It is hoped that by urging people to spend with small and independent shops, that it will bring a much needed boost to the area as December shopping begins.

Glyn Roberts from NIIRTA (Northern Ireland's Independent retailers Association), who is chairing Small Business Saturday campaign in Northern Ireland, said: "I think it's an absolutely crucial day, not least because it's one of the main shopping days of the year, but I think also it's much broader than just retail.

"It's about every type of small business and it's encouraging consumers to make a special point on Saturday to support their local traders.

"Now whether that is a butcher, a chemist, a pub, a restaurant or a manufacturer, we want people to make a real particular effort on Saturday to support those local traders.

"We're very encouraged at the response that we've been getting, and I think that the key message to consumers, is to make a special point to support those traders on that day.

"It's the first time we have ever had a UK-wide campaign like this," he said.

"This is a key day, where you've got fun days and fantastic offers in different shops, so there's an awful lot going on just to showcase the big contribution that small business makes, not just to the economy, but to our local community as well.

"Independent retailers are, if you like, the social glue that keeps the community together," he added.

Peter Carrington, business development officer at the Lisburn Road Business Association said they will be supporting independent retailers with radio promotions of the day.

"I think that the message behind the whole thing is obviously to think locally. We would encourage everybody to think of the small businesses, particularly coming up to Christmas, and spend your money with them," he said.

"It's a great idea, and it's the first year it has been done, but it will take.

"It's not just retail of course, it's any small business – so think before you spend and support the small business. Keep it local," he added.

Belfast City Council is trying to entice shoppers into the city with a month-long programme which will see the city come to life with street performers and entertainment each weekend in December. Earlier this month, the council agreed to commit an additional £200,000 towards marketing the city and its retailers in the run up to Christmas. For more information on what's happening in and around Belfast over the Christmas period, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/event

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