A campaign has been launched to urge people in Denbighshire to shop local this Christmas to give the county’s high street traders a £2.5 million boost in the run up to the festive season.
On average in the UK each household spends £500 on presents, decorations and food and Denbighshire County Council wants local shops to get their share of the Yuletide action.
They are hoping to encourage at least a third of the county’s 30,000 household to spend half their Christmas cash with their local retailers instead of buying online or go to the expense of travelling to the bigger shopping centres.
By spending locally residents ensure their money will boost the local economy – experts say every £1 spent locally is likely to be re-spent 2.3 times which would mean almost £6 million stays in the county.
The Council is encouraging people to shop locally through the #LoveLiveLocal campaign.
Emlyn Jones, Denbighshire’s head of Planning and Public Protection Services, who oversees the county’s Economic and Business Development Team, said: “We have a wonderful selection of independent shops and businesses at the heart of our high streets and we want to encourage more local people to choose to spend their money locally and contribute to the local economy.
“Local shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs are at the heart of our towns and play a vital role creating new jobs and improving prosperity and that’s why we are encouraging people to shop local this Christmas.
“It will be good for shoppers too because if they buy more locally this Christmas it will mean less travel, be a far more relaxing experience and they will be able find something a bit different to put under the tree for their loved ones.
“If half the £500 average Christmas spend of just a third of our households was spent with local traders, it would mean a £2.5 million boost to the county economy and crucially to our retailers.
“The other thing I would stress is that shopping locally isn’t just for Christmas. If every adult in Denbighshire spent just £5 extra a week locally instead of online or at a chain store during the rest of the year, that would add up to over £300,000 more a week for the county’s shopkeepers. At a time when margins are tight, that could make all the difference.
“It’s about promoting the diverse and vibrant shopping experiences we have in Denbighshire and whether you’re buying a turkey from your butcher or a pair of socks from a high street store you’ll almost certainly get better quality than you will from the big chains and you’ll be doing your bit for your town or village.
“Our businesses offer great value for money, a wide range of products and fantastic customer service and we want to play our part in showcasing what makes our towns special.”
Meanwhile, retail guru Helen Hodgkinson, from Dyserth, who has worked closely with local businesses, has advice on how to make the most of Christmas which is the most important period of the year for sales.
Denbighshire County Council’s #LoveLiveLocal campaign encourages people to use their local shops and services and for businesses to promote themselves and for everyone to use social media platforms Twitter and Facebook to share their positive experiences of Denbighshire as a fantastic place to shop.
Going online is key, according to Helen, a former fashion retailer and college lecturer, who said: “You have to talk about your offer and really promote it on social media and on your website – a lot of people don’t shop local because they don’t know what’s available.
“You need to really push what you’re offering and the benefits of shopping locally such as saving travelling time and the fact that the offer is very often niche, different and unique and you need to shout that from the rooftops.
“The towns have late night shopping so make the most of it, let people know when it is and what you’re doing – it’s an idea to invite other people like crafters and artists to exhibit in your store.
“For example Snow in Summer in Denbigh has done that very well so it’s important to work with other people in your high street and telling the world why they should shop in your town.
“Shopkeepers need to get involved in events, Christmas fairs and markets – The Little Cheesemonger in Rhuddlan is doing that and that can drive people to your high street and your store.”
Helen, from Dyserth, worked for Fine Fare and Holland and Barratt before opening her own ethical clothing business in Llandudno and she has taught at Rhyl College, including a series of courses by the high priestess of retail, TV star Mary Portas, on successful retailing.
She said: “There’s a great offer in Denbighshire, lots of unusual, quirky, specialist independent shops offering great products and people do want to buy something that’s a bit different, something with a story behind it, but you can’t just expect them to turn up, you’ve got to get them interested.”
As part of the Christmas #LoveLiveLocal campaign, Denbighshire County Council will be posting a video to highlight what the county has to offer and the campaign will encourage people to support local independent businesses by using the hashtag on Twitter and Facebook to share good experiences they’ve had as well as promote products and services locally they have ‘loved’.
For more information go to https://www.denbighshire.gov.uk/en/business/business-support-and-advice/love-live-local-caru-busnesau-lleol.aspx and businesses and customers can get involved by including #LoveLiveLocal in their tweets on Twitter and joining the #LoveLiveLocal group on Facebook.