Plea to back Weston's independent businesses this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 November 2018
Weston-super-Mare's festive spending season begins tonight (Thursday) with the start of late-night shopping in the town centre, and shoppers are being encouraged to support the town's 'brilliant' independent businesses.
Sam Walker, manager of High Street fashion retailer Walker and Ling, has issued a plea to Westonians to support the town’s traders in favour of online or out-of-town shopping to buy their Christmas gifts.
His sentiments have been echoed by town centre manager Steve Townsend, who feels customers enjoy superior service from independent businesses.
Late-night shopping events start tonight and will be held every Thursday until Christmas, with free parking in the Sovereign Shopping Centre.
The surge in online sales in recent years has heaped pressure on Weston’s High Street, causing several shops to close, but Mr Walker believes town centre shopping makes for an experience which cannot be enjoyed online.
He said: “The late-night shopping in Weston will be a great chance to shop, though unfortunately it is not as well attended as it used to be.
“The nice thing about shopping for Christmas presents in the High Street is you can browse a few stores and make a day of it.”
Mr Walker believes the town as a whole would benefit from independent businesses thriving, whereas shopping online at retail giants does little for the local economy.
He added: “For every £1 spent with a local, independent business, between 50p-70p circulates back into the local economy, whereas shopping online or at out-of-town retailer centres only generates around 5p back into the local community.
“Shopping locally does make a positive impact to the town you live in. I often hear this from our customers, who appreciate the variety and personality of an independent store like ours.”
Mr Townsend called on shoppers to explore the selection of independent traders when hunting for Christmas gifts.
He told the Mercury: “It is key to remember off the High Street there are a multitude of brilliant businesses which specialise in what they sell.
“You get amazing advice from independent traders and service which you can’t get elsewhere. It is Small Business Saturday this weekend, so make sure you come and support your locals.”