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Gloucestershire Business News

Support Local Business: Think small to help recovery

Shop small is the rallying cry from the Federation of Small Businesses as retailers across the country open their doors again after three months.

Punchline-Gloucester.com  last week launched our Support Local Businesses campaign as they fight to recover from three months of coronavirus restrictions.

And the FSB has echoed that call with 51 per cent of all small firms closed for at least part of the last three months - one fifth of them saying they cannot open due to difficulties complying with social distancing advice.

FSB chairman Mike Cherry said: "The past few months have been and remain some of the toughest periods of trading that the economy has faced in recent history.

"Right across every single village, high street, town centre and city shopping centre, small businesses have faced an unprecedented period of turbulence the likes none have seen before.

"That is why today is a crucial landmark in getting back to business, bringing the retail economy back on track as well as crucially safeguarding the livelihoods of millions of employees."

The FSB's latest figures says 60 per cent of firms said it would cost up to £1,000 to comply with government guidance with 28 per cent saying it could cost up to £10,000 in set-up costs alone.

"This won't be like flicking on a light switch, for many this will be a slow and gradual easing back into business," said Mr Cherry.

"Not every small firm will find it financially viable to open, while others will not be able to cope with full customer demand on day one with social distancing measures still in place, and their desire to protect their staff, suppliers and customers.

"Some shops are deliberately staggering opening times among themselves to help manage the high street, and manage deliveries."

He continued: "The raft of financial packages from the Government has enabled thousands of businesses to stay afloat, but this of course cannot last forever, and we need small businesses to be back and trading, so they can get back on their feet.

"That's why it's vital that the public now do all they can to support small firms as they start to reopen."

And he urged people not to turn their back on small businesses which are unable to open their doors.

"In place of a physical visit to a retailer, many small firms are trading in some capacity online, this is a great way support businesses that aren't ready to open just yet," he said.

"Perhaps also go on to their social media and express your support, and provide a positive review where they have a review site.

"But for those going into the bricks and mortar stores, patience from the public is needed."

He continued: "There may be queues in place, limits on the number of shoppers in a single building and other measures all designed to protect staff as well as customers.

"So I'd urge everyone to show patience and consideration especially during the next couple of weeks.

"Making up 99 per cent of all businesses in the country, small firms are already the backbone of the economy as well as being at the heart of their local communities which is why they will play a pivotal role in the economic recovery over the weeks and months to come.

"It has never been more important to support small firms, shop local and support the nation's self-employed."

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