Cornwall Chamber of Commerce is calling on local businesses and shoppers across the Duchy to back Small Business Saturday UK this weekend.
The grassroots, non-commercial campaign takes place annually, crusading to reenergise Britain’s high street ahead of Christmas.
Since its inception by American Express in 2011, the one-day campaign has taken flight in the UK to become a staple calendar event. £748 million was spent across UK highstreets last year alone.
Cornwall Chamber of Commerce CEO, Kim Conchie, is championing Small Business Saturday as a launch pad for reimagining Cornwall’s town centres. From housing to healthcare, Conchie is calling on a restructure to rent and rate systems, business skills and best practice to draw shoppers back into the high street.
Speaking about opportunity for year-round growth, Conchie commented: “The time has come to rethink what services town centres provide; and Cornwall should be at the forefront of this reimagining. We need a fundamental reformulation of how business rates are calculated and levied to allow local business to thrive.
“We need showrooms, depots and collection points of online stores to emerge. Shop owners themselves must be trained to create theatre and intrigue around their offering. Businesses traditionally encouraged into out-of-town rural workshops like makers, creators, artists, jewellers, designers, bakeries should be encouraged into towns.”
Lou Treseder, St Agnes Chamber chair, echoes Conchie’s mission. Speaking about the need for consumers to embrace a ‘shop local’ ethos, he said: “We believe that if you spend your pounds in small businesses in the area, more stays within the local economy instead of money being lost to a head office elsewhere.
“Buying local is often more ethical with fewer ‘product miles’ and less packaging. Money spent in independent businesses supports the local community and provides a network and income opportunity for isolated individuals.”
Sinead Hanks, Fowey Town chamber member, added: “This year Small Business Saturday falls on the weekend of Fowey Christmas Market – almost 200 small businesses are showcased in one event.
“We are lucky in Fowey to have a lovely selection of quality independent shops and cafes, and this the Market also gives visitors a great opportunity to wander around and explore our town.”
Small Business Saturday takes place annually on the first weekend in December. For more information visit: www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.