Sunderland shoppers urged to 'stay local, buy local' as stores get ready to reopen

Stay local, buy local.

Thursday, 11th June 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 11th June 2020, 11:56 am

That’s the message from business bosses in Sunderland as a host of city centre shops prepare to reopen on Monday.

The Echo has been running a #SupportLocal campaign during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to encourage people to back local businesses in what have been challenging times for many.

And as many shops get ready to welcome the return of customers, we are today urging people to back their local shops where they can.

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The Bridges Shopping Centre.

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations for Sunderland BID, believes it is important shoppers stay loyal to local retailers as lockdown measures ease.

She said: “It has been an incredibly tough few months for retailers across the city centre, but what lockdown has shown is the sheer tenacity of our businesses.

“We’ve seen people go online for the first time and found themselves a whole new audience to sell to, we’ve had shops which couldn’t have customers come in – so they’ve taken their goods to them.

“It has in some respects opened a new world to some businesses, some of which will continue to offer a delivery service while opening their doors once again.

How shopping will work with social distancing measures.

“The fact that city centre traders have not wanted to let anyone down is just one of the many reasons that they deserve shoppers’ loyalty as we start to ease lockdown.

“Shopping local not only makes sense because less travelling means less risk, but it also means that everyone can help the local economy to recover and move forward.

“We are very lucky in Sunderland to have a really strong independent sector as well as a great shopping centre and they all deserve our support. “We have set up the Recovery Task Force with businesses and leading organisations working together so that we can emerge from this current situation in the best shape possible.

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations for Sunderland BID

“A vital part of that recovery is for shoppers to stay local and buy local – and we’ve all worked together to put safety measures in place to ensure that people can do that in a stress free environment.

“There is still a long way to go but we’re now taking the first steps – and a really important part of that is for people to spend their money in the city centre which is the surest way to help the local economy move upwards.”

Duncan Allen, building and services director, said: “The Bridges has remained open during lockdown as we’re home to a whole range of essential retailers who were allowed to operate and provide vital services for the people of Sunderland

Duncan Allen, building and services director at the Bridges.

“As we are now about to reinstate non-essential retailers, it’s really important that the people of the city act responsibly – and help the local economy grow again.

“All of our retailers have introduced new measures to ensure that shopping is a safe experience and we have taken our responsibilities very seriously and put in place systems which are aimed at maintaining social distancing at all times.

“We have always prided ourselves on being at the heart of the city centre and playing a key part in the success of that city centre, but we can only do that if shoppers spend their money here.

“We know people have been visiting us during lockdown to make important visits to banks, chemists and food shops, now we want them to continue to come back to buy their non essential items.

“We are very aware that COVID-19 is still with us, which is why while encouraging people to come to the centre, we’ll also be asking them to do their shopping and return home rather than stay too long.

“We know that the people of Sunderland are extremely loyal and we hope that we will see that in the coming weeks, when they are once again able to give their support to our retailers.

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations for Sunderland BID

“By the same token we want them to know that every single step has been taken to ensure that returning to the Bridges is going to be a positive experience and we look forward to seeing our customers in the very future.”

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