OVER 22 independent shops in Kendal have come together to open their doors for late night shopping on Thursday 10 and 17 of December. They hope to spread some festive cheer and help people to shop local.
The initiative, co-ordinated by Claire Todd, owner of Todds of Kendal, was inspired by the success of three shops opening together for a late-night shopping event before the second national lockdown.
As Claire explains:
“I thought if there was that much interest and a buzz with three shops imagine if we could get lots to open together, and we’ve 22 so far and counting?
“There’s a lot of support for shopping local and we want to make it an easy and special experience particularly in the run up to Christmas. Late night opening together gives people more time to do their Christmas shopping and helps businesses on the road to recovery after a difficult year.
“Independent shops are a really important part of Kendal and we put our heart and soul into making Kendal a nice place to shop, work and live,” adds Claire.
Lifestyle store Armstrong Ward in Wainwright’s Yard was one of the first businesses to sign up. They are opening until 9pm on the two Thursdays leading up to Christmas. It will be owners Jacqueline and Andrew Ward’s 16th Christmas and one of their most challenging years of trading yet.
Jacqueline Ward says:
“Shopping small and local makes economic sense. Studies say that for every £1 spent in an independent small business 70p goes back into the local economy, compared to just 5p if you shop online or with a multiple. Small businesses are also employers and are great at keeping big brands on their toes.
“There are other intangible benefits we independents bring too. Small businesses bring life and a sense of place to where we live and are repositories of local expertise and knowledge. They know their customers and what’s important to them, no focus group required, and their independence means they can be nimble, innovative and responsive. Making changes literally overnight. Our local village shop was a forerunner of Covid safe, contactless, doorstep deliveries, and offering them ahead of many of the multiples. And we quickly provided private and virtual shopping sessions for people who couldn’t come in to shop for themselves.
“Small businesses also host local fundraisers, support local causes, and promote other local businesses, or in our case local makers.
“Being a successful small, independent business in the UK is a challenge but small can be mighty.
“I think the pandemic has increased people’s appreciation of their communities and the role small local businesses play in our economy and daily lives. We’ve really appreciated all the support we have had throughout the pandemic from our local customers. They’ve gone out of their way to continue to shop with us and we are so very grateful and humbled by their support,” concludes Jacqueline Ward.
For details of the Kendal independents late night shopping events, special offers and prizes visit their dedicated Facebook page.