Christmas Shop Local Advent Calendar launched to support high street

Published
30.11.2020

Gloucester City Council is working with Gloucester Business Improvement District (BID) to promote small, independent businesses in the run-up to Christmas with a Shop Local Advent Calendar.

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The digital advent calendar will engage shoppers by highlighting a different business in Gloucester each day, introducing the shop owners and telling the story of the real people behind the counter.

The initiative (found at www.gloucesterbid.uk) and backed with a social media campaign, will shine a light on businesses’ hopes for Christmas, their best-selling products and why being part of a local community is so important to them.

Christmas is key for the retail and hospitality sector but this year, businesses have faced the added pressure of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So Gloucester City Council, Gloucester BID and local businesses have been working in partnership to ensure a safe experience in the city.

The public are being reminded that shopping locally is more important than ever, whether it’s in person, ordering takeaways or using click and collect and home delivery services:

  • It pumps money into the local economy, and by spending in your local shop, restaurant, café or pub, shoppers can do their bit to boost their communities.
  • Small businesses are often run by people who live nearby, supporting jobs in the city. There are few substitutes for the experience of buying locally from a friendly face.
  • Small businesses have measures in place to ensure the safety of their customers and staff including capacity limits, partitions at tills and hand sanitizing stations.
  • Local shops often source their goods locally, helping to reduce their carbon footprint and providing positive knock-on effects for the wider economy.

Small business owners can also get involved with the national Small Business Saturday campaign.

Taking place on Saturday 5 December, shoppers up and down the country are encouraged to support their local small shops and services.

Businesses can advertise their business by registering at www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com and receive free marketing resources.

And Gloucester City Council and Gloucester BID will be giving away three £100 Gloucester Gift Cards to celebrate Small Business Saturday with the lucky winners able to redeem them at participating local stores, pubs, restaurants and attractions.

Councillor Dawn Melvin, cabinet member for Economic Recovery and Growth at Gloucester City Council, said: “I welcome and support this initiative and hope that it brings a much-needed boost for retailers and businesses in our wonderful City. At present we are all faced with a torrent of special offers hitting our inboxes. Black Friday is hard to miss and signals the start of the Christmas selling season. Whilst tempting, I ask that our residents join the growing number of people who are rejecting this "fast and impersonal shopping" culture. Conscious consumers look for alternatives especially with the devastating environmental impact of single items being delivered by couriers to millions of homes each day. 

Shopping local supports independent businesses. Those small businesses have gone to extraordinary lengths this year to re-invent themselves, support their local communities and keep trading despite the pandemic. I encourage stores to consider extending their opening hours to allow customers to shop for longer in a safer and less crowded environment.

The message we want to get across is that you need to use them or lose them, and this Christmas is the perfect time to show your support. Every sale, even the simplest item, is vital to your local independent shops or businesses prosperity and in some cases sadly, its very survival.”

Emily Gibbon, manager of Gloucester BID, said: “We are delighted to be working with Gloucester City Council to support our local businesses during these testing times. The run-up to Christmas is crucial for the high street in a ‘normal’ year with tough competition from online retailers. This year, despite national lockdowns and restrictions, many local businesses have adapted to provide safer in-person shopping, click and collect and delivery services, offering customers more ways than ever to shop safely and support their local community.”

Shoppers are reminded to wear face coverings unless they are exempt and to try to keep two metres apart from people who are not in their household or bubble.

They are also encouraged to regularly wash their hands and if this is not possible to use hand sanitiser to help keep themselves and their families safe.

The Shop Local Advent Calendar can be viewed at www.gloucesterbid.uk.

Like Gloucester BID on Facebook (www.facebook.com/GloucesterBID) to find out more on the Gloucester Gift Card competition.

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