People are being urged to think twice before they click or head out of town to do their Christmas shopping.
The plea to get people to shop local comes at a crucial time for Harborough and Lutterworth retailers.
And several initiatives are planned to encourage local shopping. Tomorrow night is the flagship Christmas Fayre event in Harborough and the following day is Small Business Saturday, the national campaign urging people to use local retailers on what is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
And the campaign coincides with the first of three consecutive Saturdays where parking fees will be scrapped in all the district’s car parks.
It is the second year running that Harborough Council has brought in a free parking initiative in a bid to boost local Christmas trade.
Ian Joule, a Market Harborough trader for 53 years and president of Harborough Chamber of Trade, said: “It’s important that we all get behind supporting the town centre. Let’s explore some of the smaller shops, some of the new shops, as well as the long-established ones.
“Why not make a point of visiting a shop in town that you’ve always walked past?
“The chamber supports any initiative that highlights the importance of local businesses so we are fully supportive of Small Business Saturday.”
Naomi Tzirki, owner of Naomi Nails & Beauty in Manor Walk, said: “In an ever-
increasing presence of big conglomerates on UK high streets, it is important that small businesses are not pushed out.
“Local shops provide so many of our everyday needs, from eating out to getting our nails done, or visiting the local coffee shop.
“I never truly appreciated the difficulties that local shopkeepers face day-to-day until I started my business.
“Events like Small Business Saturday help put local shops in the spotlight and raise awareness.”
Simon Matthews, owner of bistro cafe Simply Simon’s in Adam and Eve Street, said: “We use local suppliers, local businesses, and invest in the local community – so your money stays local.”
Ella Felce, who runs Gardners Cakery in Church Street, with her sister Amber Felce, said: “There’s a lot of variety in Harborough – and that’s down to the small, local independent business.”
Mikki Longley, membership secretary of the Harborough Small Business Alliance, said: “We support all small businesses, from the high street to the home office.
“Shopping local for all services is the best way to contribute to the district’s business community.”