Wednesday, December 4, 2013

News: Small Business Saturday in Rotherham town centre

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Rotherham town centre has been urging us to shop local for a while, and now a national campaign is hoping that towns and cities across the UK do the same.

Launched in 2010, The Rotherham Shop Local loyalty card entitles shoppers to offers and discounts at over 100 businesses in the town centre. It has been used successfully to reinforce the message that shopping local equates to value for money, a unique offer, quality goods and services and provides a boost to the local economy and employment. 16,000 Rotherham residents have registered for a card.

This Saturday has been declared "Small Business Saturday" by a grass-roots campaign that encourages people to shop local and support small businesses in their communities, both on the Saturday and beyond.

The concept is based on the initiative that already exists in America. In the US, Small Business Saturday takes place on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving celebrations, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. This year, consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reported spending $5.7 billion with independent merchants on the day, an increase of 3.6% from a strong $5.5 billion in 2012.

Conceived and promoted by American Express, Small Business Saturday complements "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" which focus largely on big box and online retailers.

The campaign is supported by Councillor Roger Stone, Leader of Rotherham Council, who said: "We have seen a number of improvements across Rotherham Town Centre in recent years, both to the physical environment and the quality of the shopping experience, and these improvements have gained national recognition.

"Rotherham is a great place to shop and we have some fine independent local retailers that deserve your support, especially in the run up to Christmas. By Shopping Locally we help keep the wealth within the Rotherham area which benefits everybody."

A critical time for the retail sector, Rotherham retailers are working with each other and the council to make this Christmas even more special.

This year saw the town centre's first ever gift guide, which sees over 90 gift ideas showcased.

The council has reintroduced its popular free weekend parking scheme in the run-up to Christmas, to complement a range of festive events taking place. Last week saw the ice rink in town and this Saturday is the free Victorian Christmas celebration, complete with music, entertainment and craft workshops.

The free "Gift Wrapping & Personal Shopping" service also returns, where shoppers can have their gifts wrapped for free and get advice as to where to find that extra special present idea.

B&M have provided the retail unit on College Street free of charge, whilst Wilkinson's and The Works have donating both the wrapping paper and materials. McDonalds have helped supply branded t-shirts, staff from Greggs, Santander and Greenwoods are working with the Council and The Source on High Street is set to run the service.

Bernadette Rushton, retail investment manager for the Council, said: "Initiatives such as the Gift Guide and Small Business Saturday are great example of how we can all come together in the Town Centre.

"Throughout the year we have worked with the retailers and market traders on a number of activities, such as taking the high street on the road to Parkgate, the Rotherham Show and to major Rotherham employers.

"We have responded to the ideas and suggestions from businesses for the Christmas promotional activities and have been delighted at the offers of support. They are already commenting on the fantastic feedback and brilliant response they're getting from shoppers, and the message is certainly getting out there that Rotherham Town Centre has a lot to offer shoppers, especially this Christmas."

Rotherham town centre website

Images: American Express

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