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Gloucestershire Business News

Advent calendar opens the window on local businesses

Forget chocolates or festive images behind windows, Gloucester has its own advent calendar shining a light on small, independent businesses throughout the run-up to Christmas.

The Shop Local Advent Calendar will highlight a different city business each day and tell the story of the people behind the counter.

A joint venture between Gloucester City Council and Gloucester Business Improvement District, the initiative is backed with a social media campaign and will highlight businesses' hopes for Christmas, their best-selling products and why being part of a local community is so important to them.

Councillor Dawn Melvin, cabinet member for economic recovery and growth, said: "I welcome and support this initiative and hope it brings a much-needed boost for retailers and businesses in our wonderful city.

"We are all faced with a torrent of special offers hitting our inboxes. Black Friday is hard to miss and signals the start of the Christmas selling season."

She continued: "While tempting, I ask that our residents join the growing number of people who are rejecting this fast and impersonal shopping culture.

"Conscious consumers look for alternatives especially with the devastating environmental impact of single items being delivered by couriers to millions of homes each day."

Small business owners can also get involved with the national Small Business Saturday campaign on Saturday, December 5.

"Shopping local supports independent businesses," said Councillor Melvin. "Those small businesses have gone to extraordinary lengths this year to reinvent themselves, support their local communities and keep trading despite the pandemic.

"I encourage stores to consider extending their opening hours to allow customers to shop for longer in a safer and less crowded environment.

"The message we want to get across is that you need to use them or lose them, and this Christmas is the perfect time to show your support. Every sale, even the simplest item, is vital to your local independent shops or businesses prosperity and in some cases, sadly, its very survival."

The calendar starts as many local businesses prepare to reopen tomorrow with the end of England's November lockdown

Gloucester BID manager Emily Gibbon said: "The run-up to Christmas is crucial for the high street in a normal year with tough competition from online retailers.

"This year, despite national lockdowns and restrictions, many local businesses have adapted to provide safer in-person shopping, click and collect and delivery services, offering customers more ways than ever to shop safely and support their local community."

The Shop Local Advent Calendar can be viewed at gloucesterbid.uk.

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