Shop Local: Why we’re supporting independent retailers in St Albans and Harpenden this Christmas

Hannah Sessions Design. Picture: Supplied

Hannah Sessions Design. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Independent retailers are heralding a make or break Christmas as pandemic pressures bite home.

The double impact of coronavirus restrictions and increased online sales mean some local traders are relying on a fantastic festive season to survive.

In order to support our indies, the Herts Ad is launching a #ShopLocal campaign aimed at encouraging customers to use them or lose them in the months ahead.

We’ve been out and about interviewing independent retailers in St Albans and Harpenden, and the overwhelming sentiment from those we spoke to is that this could be their last Christmas if customers don’t #ShopLocal in the coming months.

Out of 15 traders initially surveyed, all felt it was make or break for many businesses without exceptional revenue over the final quarter of 2020.

The Herts Ad wants to ensure they have a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons.

What we can do – and will do over the coming weeks - is put them into the spotlight.

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You can see for yourselves what is on offer locally, put a name to a face behind the till, and listen to their stories of entrepreneurship, determination and of the love and passion they individually and collectively bring to our district.

These are not super rich retail giants but hard working, diligent, inventive, customer focused and community driven businesses.

Apart from discovering that they can often match bigger and even online retailers on price, what they also offer is reliability, continuance, and an unrivalled personal service.

#ShopLocal is not the cliché it sounds but an opportunity to make a real difference to our independent retailers.

Our local High Streets are the life blood of our communities - but they are in trouble, not simply from internet shopping but by the devastating consequences of COVID-19.

We asked ourselves how we could support them and in so doing encourage you to help them. Over the coming weeks we’ll be talking to more independent retailers across the district to give them a spotlight in these challenging times.

We will be identifying the challenges they face, exploring why people should support our independent shops, and showcasing their online shopping and home delivery services.

Any businesses in St Albans, Harpenden and the villages we have not contacted so far are welcome to get in touch at to join our campaign.

We also want to hear from readers about their favourite indie shops, and why they love them, so email us your comments at the same address.