Wednesday, July 3, 2013

News: Rotherham celebrates its independents


Rotherham's independent shops and market stalls will be supporting Independents' Day tomorrow, the national campaign to get people to support their local independent retailers.

Rotherham town centre has a different retail mix with a strong focus on independent, niche retailers. It was named as one of only 27 "Portas pilots" last year by the government and has had success in supporting new retailers with a business vitality scheme, Shop Local initiative and Pop-Up shops.

Living up to the motto of this year's event, Rotherham's independent shop owners are promising that "My Shop is Your Shop" and inviting people to come and see the range of quality goods for sale, buy at least one item and help keep money in the local economy.

Independent shop owners will be showcasing colourful window displays, with branded posters, to raise awareness of the number and range of independents in the town centre.

National High Street names are also getting on board, Wilkinsons, an ongoing supporter of Independent businesses, will be joining the cause, giving over one of their windows to promote the specialist offer in the town centre.

A "Pop up High Street" will also take to the road with a sample of quality retailers setting up stall at Parkgate Shopping on July 5 and at Rotherham General Hospital on July 8 and 9.

Laura Bullock, owner of Bittersweet Boutique and Independent's Day co-ordinator (pictured at her Imperial Buildings boutique), said: "I cannot wait for all independent businesses in Rotherham town centre to come together on Thursday July 4 to celebrate retail independent's day by having a colour scheme throughout our window displays and with posters.

"The level of customer service and the range of goods on sale is fantastic, from shops selling items as varied handmade chocolates, vintage clothing, luxury handmade goods and kitsch curios!

"Across the town everyone will be able to recognise which businesses are independent and hopefully we can get across our message of "shop local and support your town" which is very important to all us independents.

"I'm a Rotherham resident and it's incredibly important to me to see our town centre thriving with originality and creativity. With your help we can make this happen."

Councillor Gerald Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development, added: "Rotherham is delivering on its promise to become the benchmark for revitalised town centres. In the past couple of years we've welcomed a range of new independent retailers to the town centre and developed a reputation for offering an "independent alternative" to the clone shopping malls.

"Going forward, in order for the town centre to succeed it needs the support of those living and working in the borough; for every pound spent locally 50 to 70p is recycled within the local economy, something that is hugely important for Rotherham.

"I'd encourage everyone to get behind the campaign and buy one item locally on July 4."

Independents' Day is organised by The National Skills Academy for Retail.

Jane Rexworthy, head of the National Skills Academy for Retail, said: "People are passionate about their local shops and appreciate the contribution they make to a town's personality. But we all need to make sure we use them and show support for these businesses.

"Independents' Day is an exciting way to showcase the variety of independent retailers and traders in the UK, and get the British public spending in them."

Bittersweet Boutique website
Rotherham town centre website

Images: NSA Retail / RMBC


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