It goes without saying that 2020 has been a difficult year for small businesses like ours, and for the independent sector in general. Barely a day goes by without another downbeat story in the media about the DEATH OF THE HIGH STREET, with reports of shop closures and redundancies dominating the news agenda. It’s tough to be sure, and that’s before you throw in a global pandemic for good measure!
The good news, though, is that the High Street is far from in its final death throws, and if you peek beneath the surface there’s lots going on, especially within the independent and artisan sectors where small and medium sized businesses have been forced into becoming ever more creative in their efforts to keep trading, pay their staff and ultimately make a living!
One example of this creativity is visible along Commercial Street, here in Harrogate, where 80% of the independent businesses have banded together to launch the Commercial Street Retailers Group. This endeavour aims to promote Commercial Street as a destination for shoppers in the town, promoting the fact that the street is the home to more than twenty fully independent businesses, who work alongside established and much-loved charity shops. Commercial Street is often overlooked as a destination, with attention aimed at more ‘glamorous’ areas such as Montpellier or James Street. The members of CSRG aim to change the way Commercial Street is perceived and encourage Harrogate’s residents and visitors to walk “less than a hundred yards past M&S” to find a few real gems. As well as the best coffee in Harrogate (that’s Bean & Bud, by the way!) you’ll also find fantastic cheese, the only fishmonger’s in Harrogate, a wide choice of barber shops, places to pamper and groom, as well as jeweller’s, books, antiques and top of the range electronics!
For the full list of businesses head over to the new Commercial Street Retailers Group website: www.commercial-street.co.uk
With Christmas just around the corner, and gift shopping getting into full swing after the delayed start caused by Lockdown 2.0, it’s the prefect time to help our independent sector. The easiest way is to “Avoid Amazon”. We appreciate that is’s so easy to do all of your Christmas shopping at the click of a mouse, but nothing beats browsing in person, chatting with real artisans who love what they do – and of course, grabbing a coffee at Bean & Bud while you’re out and about. And the ‘masks-on’ experience (which everyone hates!) is much better at small shops, which are usually less crowded with all the COVID securities in place.
You’ll see the window sticker pictured above in all of the businesses within the Commercial Street Retail Group, and you’ll also see a QR Code in each shop which links through to a sign-up page for a monthly newsletter. There are some great offers on at the moment – here at Bean & Bud we have a fantastic range of retail gift ideas that make great stocking fillers – and the best way to find out about what Commercial Street is up to just enter your details. It takes less than a minute, and you’ll b doing your bit to Help the High Street and some great proudly independent retailers through these tough times.