AFTER a tough year for businesses across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, one Welsh town is seeing traders come together with an innovative idea to support their high street.

Over the next few weeks, business owners in Penarth will be asked to join a virtual marketplace. The idea, which will exclusively feature independent businesses in town, is the first of its kind in Wales.

There are already 170 traders interested in taking part.

The idea came about after Angelina Hall, co-owner with Cathy O’Doherty of Glass By Design, was racking her brain on how to help businesses in the area during the early days of the pandemic.

South Wales Argus: Angelina Hall, of Glass By Design

Angelina Hall, of Glass By Design 

Ms Hall then approached the Vale of Glamorgan Council to secure funding for the initiative – and was successful. She then discovered ShopAppy, a website where you can have all your favourite shops in one place and approached them about getting on board.

“If our high street is to survive, we all have to accept that the new normal is a blended way of buying, and we want Penarth to be at the forefront of this,” she added.

“This in essence will give us our own mini-Amazon, but just for locals to buy from independents.


“Together, we are so much stronger, and locals have proved that they are ready to support buying locally, we just have to make this very easy for them”.

For the first year it will cost businesses nothing to take part, due to funding by VOGC. A social media presence or website is not needed to take part.

Mel Griffin, owner of Griffin Books, and who is taking part in the initiative, said: “We need to recognise that the accelerated shift to online shopping that has taken place during lockdown is here to stay, and we have to get on board or be left behind.

South Wales Argus: Mel Griffin, of Griffin Books

Mel Griffin, of Griffin Books 

“By working together as a community of local independent traders, we aim to make it just as easy and convenient for people to shop online with Penarth businesses as it would be to shop with Amazon.

“Many of us already have our own websites but being able to build up a shopping basket of goods from multiple local shops, and pay in a single transaction, has the potential to be a game-changer."

  • Find out more at the Penarth Business Group Facebook page.