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Sunderland BID: Shoppers urged to get behind Small Business Saturday

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID.
Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID.

We battled the high street on Black Friday, scoured the internet for the finest deals on Cyber Monday – but this weekend will be all about supporting local traders.

Saturday is Small Business Saturday, an annual event which encourages shoppers to step away from the big, national chains and shop local.

Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is a concept which originated in America back in 2010, and was created to encourage shoppers into small, independent shops.

It arrived in the UK in 2013, and is held each year on the first Saturday of December, a prime time for Christmas shopping.

The idea is to get shoppers to take a step back from the big name, high street chains and brands for a day and instead try those small businesses which they may have previously overlooked.

Sunderland has long had a thriving independent traders culture, with shops like Reynolds Outdoor Centre proving they can stand the test of time after clocking up more than 150 years of business.

Small Business Saturday puts these shops in the spotlight on one of the busiest shopping days in the run-up to Christmas, and has the backing of Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID).

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID, hopes it will encourage increased footfall during the run-up to Christmas, and also convert new visitors into regular customers

“The independent shops are the lifeblood of our city centre, and they are something we are very proud of.

“They need to be nurtured and supported as much as possible, so initiatives like Small Business Saturday are something we are very keen to get behind.”

Sharon is hoping that on the day, shoppers will consider taking a look in some of the independent stores that they may not normally visit, and that this in turn will lead to repeat business.

“For small businesses to survive and grow, it is vital that they receive the support and trade from the people living in and around the city centre,” she said.

“In many cases, a lot of people don’t even know these shops exist, so anything which brings them to the fore is a very good thing.

“Given its proximity to Christmas, it gives them a much-needed boost, and hopefully once people visit these shops, they’ll return again and again.

“We are passionate about giving our small shops and independent traders as much help and support as we can.

“It is essential that they are given the chance to thrive and prosper so they can stand the test of time like many of our already successful small businesses, and we would encourage everyone to make the time to visit at least one this Small Business Saturday.”