Gwent hoping for boost from ‘shop local’ Saturday
6:42am Thursday 5th December 2013 in News
SHOPPING hubs will bustle with activity this Saturday thanks to a trading initiative which could help boost the local economy by millions of pounds.
Independent traders will encourage consumers to back a Shop Local campaign by choosing small business over big chains in the run-up to Christmas and beyond.
Abergavenny will seek to entice shoppers with free parking, Newport Market will have price reductions and special offers and punters will be able to use a Christmas discount card at shops across Caerphilly.
The AM for Blaenau Gwent, Alun Davies, will also back the Shop Local initiative by visiting a cafe in Abertillery called Coffee Bean tomorrow. The minister for natural resources and food has calculated if every adult spent £5 each week at local shops it would add £14 million to the local economy in the course of a year in his borough alone.
Business minister Edwina Hart is also rallying behind the campaign, saying small and medium sized enterprises were the “lifeblood of the Welsh economy”.
Abergavenny shopkeepers are getting ready for the “Shop Local Saturday” event being run across the country.
Fiona Beavan, 54, runs the Miserable Cow coffee shop in the town and is also the vice-chairman of Abergavenny Business Club.
She said: We’re trying so hard as independent businesses to encourage shoppers to come to our town.
“Last year we had free parking and it made a substantial difference. If you’re parking here for an hour it’s 80p per hour. It was a massive boost.”
John Bannon, 57, of Jaybee Soft Furnishings in Frogmore Street, Abergavenny, said: “We are one of the oldest businesses in the town. Local independent traders give a service second to none and the internet can’t match that. It is a great initiative, I applaud it. It is more pertinent than ever.”
Parking will be free in Abergavenny town centre every Saturday until Christmas. Shopkeepers are also planning late night openings until 8pm next Thursday. More than 20 firms in Newport have signed up to Shop Local Saturday, offering discounts of up to 20 per cent. Traders hope the day will get a surge of customers through their doors as part of a city centre “fightback”.
Mike Turner, 44, of AD Turners butchers at Newport Market, said: “People are really supportive. It is important to support local business as much as you can.
“With Newport Market you get character. It is one of the best markets in the country.
“We have a new entrance and a lot of money was spent on it. It’s just marvellous to see people come in and celebrate Christmas.”
Newport Buses are also throwing their weight behind the campaign by slashing fares including a 50p flat rate to Cwmbran on Saturday.
Caerphilly shops offering discounts will display Unique Places Christmas Discount Card stickers in their window.
Edwina Hart said: “Small and medium sized enterprises are the lifeblood of the Welsh economy and need local support to survive and thrive.
“Small Business Saturday gives us the opportunity to celebrate these great businesses and gives them a chance to raise their profile and generate business.”
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