Final plea for support from independent traders in run-up to Christmas

St Peter's Street, St Albans city centre.

There's still time to support our independent retailers this Christmas. - Credit: Matt Adams

With just one week to go before Christmas, the next few days will be crucial for our local independent retailers.
For the last few months, the Herts Advertiser has been running a #ShopLocal campaign encouraging people to spend their pounds on their doorstep instead of with online multinationals.
Mandy McNeil, co-chair of St Albans BID, has made a final plea for customers to back local businesses.
“Our city centre independents, our retailers who have spent many years specialising in office wear, weddings and events, our much-loved card shops, bookshops, comic book shops, record shops, all who have been there for many years when you need them, not just for shopping, but for raffle and auction prizes and charity fundraising  - they need you right now!
“Our retail industry has been so badly hit by the pandemic, and Christmas revenues, which people rely on to get them through winter to spring are down up to 80 per cent or more. Recent national data is showing that St Albans is one of the highest users of online shopping. The BID is urging the people of St Albans, if you are buying online, please buy from local businesses, many of which have the option to buy online. 
“There’s also the option to buy vouchers and gift certificates for local businesses too, and you can ‘Stick One In’ – by buying a gift voucher for a pub or restaurant - which will help the independent hospitality businesses in St Albans too. 
“This next week is make or break for many of our wonderful city’s businesses, they rely on the revenue from Christmas to get them through the winter, to pay mortgages and look after their families. There are so many wonderful shops to choose from  - in many cases award-winning - offering a huge range of gifts for your family.  So if you still have Christmas shopping to do, please choose to shop local and help make a difference to our hard working independents.
“The shop local campaign is vitally important to our city, having a successful high street and city centre, with a thriving independent retail scene, draws millions of residents and visitors a year and underpins our local economy, which will benefits our community as a whole.
“So please buy from local businesses over the next week, and help ensure that they are still here in the New Year.”