‘Shop local and support our independent businesses’ is the message from CH1ChesterBID as the city centre gears up to celebrate Independent Retailer Month this July.
Chester’s Business Improvement District (BID) has thrown its weight behind the national campaign, which is organised by retail expert Clare Rayner, founder of ‘Support for Independent Retail’, and aims to highlight the important role that smaller, independent retailers play in local economies.
To raise awareness of their independent members the BID has launched Love Local, a campaign aimed at promoting the independent BID businesses that make Chester unique.
Alongside providing independent businesses with specialist marketing support throughout the month, CH1ChesterBID will champion the campaign with a host of initiatives, including a loyalty scheme, bespoke promotional materials and prizes that will be given away to customers who buy goods from its independent retailers.
Many of Chester’s unique independent businesses will also be put in the spotlight throughout the month, with special features promoted on social media, via CH1ChesterBID’s consumer website www.experiencechester.com and within the city centre itself.
BID manager at CH1ChesterBID Carl Critchlow said: “Independent businesses are woven into the very fabric of Chester and provide the city with character, charm and unique visitor appeal and we are fortunate to have everything from boutique retailers, leading service providers and nationally acclaimed restaurants.
“On top of that, they also play a vital role supporting the local economy, with around 50-70p of every £1 spent locally recirculating back into the area, which provides a significant boost for local jobs and our high street.
“For all of these reasons, it’s really important that we get behind them and that’s why we’re encouraging people to ‘Love Local’ and support our independent businesses as part of Independent Retailer Month this July.
“We’re doing everything we can to champion our smaller businesses and we really hope that people get behind the campaign and venture into Chester to explore some of its independent gems. Around 130 of CH1ChesterBID’s 500 members are classed as small or independent businesses, however there are many more independent businesses who don’t form part of the BID, so we would encourage the public to seek these out and make it a city-wide event.”
Owner of Toycraft on Watergate Street Beverley Lucas said: “Chester’s small and independent businesses act as a real point of difference for the city and I’m really pleased to be part of a citywide campaign that helps shine a light on my business and so many others.
“We’re facing real challenges with things like out of town shopping centres and online outlets giving people more choice than ever before. We’re determined to stand the test of time but we need the support of customers. I’d urge local residents to make a real effort this month to support Chester’s independent businesses.”
Currently, there are 43 independent traders working within Chester’s Indoor Market.
Markets manager at Chester Market Karen Bates is encouraging the public to support her traders by backing the campaign and enjoy a shopping experience which they won’t find in chain stores.
She said: “We’ve got some fabulous, eclectic stores and stalls within the indoor market and Chester has a proud market tradition stretching back more than 150 years.
“We’re thrilled to see CH1ChesterBID raising the profile of independent traders in the city centre and we’re also calling on the public to support us this month and beyond.
“Since the opening of the new Bus Interchange a new free Shopper Hopper shuttle bus now runs every 15 minutes, bringing shoppers to Chester market. I’d like to welcome our existing customers to visit during Independent Retailer Month and why not bring a friend who’s never been before. We can offer a really personal service and our traders are always happy to help.”
For more information about the campaign and the activities taking place as part of Independent Retailer Month, visit: www.experiencechester.co.uk and follow @CH1Chester for all the latest updates throughout the month.
A full list of small independent BID members can be found online at: http://www.experiencechester.co.uk/what-to-do/local-small-businesses/