Leeds lockdown lifting: Shoppers asked to 'think small and shop local' as non-essential retail reopens

People hitting Leeds high streets on April 12 are being asked to "think small and shop local".

Sunday, 11th April 2021, 4:45 pm

Federation of Small Businesses chairman Mike Cherry stresses that now, more than ever, small independent firms nationwide now need our support in person or by buying online.

He said: “High streets and town centres have seen huge changes over the past 12 months. Small businesses have been at the forefront of this.

“But small firms are resilient. Many have been able to react and adapt quickly to our ‘new normal’. Some have taken their business online, or developed their website offering, while others have created new products or spent time working with their local community.

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People hitting Leeds high streets on April 12 are being asked to "think small and shop local"

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"On top of trying to keep their business afloat, they have had to work tirelessly to adapt to ever-changing government advice.

“While it’s important to highlight just how tough the past year has been for small firms, we should look toward coming months, when independent businesses that have fought hard to make it through this pandemic will hopefully see the beginnings of recovery.”

This has been echoed by Andrew Cooper, the chief executive of the Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID).

LeedsBID chief executive Andrew Cooper

Mr Cooper hopes shoppers will "think local and shop local" as they venture back out onto the high street.

"There is a pent-up demand and we’ve had a really rubbish time, so people will be more likely to support particular businesses because they haven’t been able to spend their money," he said.

"Maybe people will be more generous, and maybe more thought will go into their spending than pre-pandemic.

"I’ve certainly changed my thought-patterns, because I want to support the businesses who have supported me during the pandemic.

"Supporting our own city centre and being ambassadors for Leeds, supporting those businesses, is a really good message - because that person might live next door to me.

"Think local, shop local, support local as we come out these restrictions is really important."

Mr Cherry added: “As we work through the road map toward reopening, small firms will need to be ready to stay nimble and make the most of the opportunity.

"As customers are allowed back into businesses that have locked down, they have a choice. In the early stages of the unlock process, as the rules allowed two people to meet outdoors, we have seen people choose small local businesses for their coffee takeaways.

"Money spent at a local small business stays in the local area, helping support that business, its staff and local community. So we encourage people to think small and back their local retailers in these critical coming weeks.

“Of course, for those who feel comfortable to, this could mean going to their local stores in person when restrictions are lifted. It could also mean visiting their website and social media or giving them a call to see how you can back them.”

Mr Cherry continued: “This has been an unbelievably tough year for small firms across the country. Now more than ever they need our support.”

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