Champions of the high street

editorial image

SHOP local and allow your high street to flourish — that’s the message from your local retailers.

Campaigns to save town shopping centres have taken off in recent years, calling on shoppers to weather the economic crisis side by side with their local shopkeepers, in the hope of keeping the high street alive.

All that work must be paying off as, according to the British Retail Consortium, Scotland’s retail sector was on the up in January.

Total Scottish sales increased by 4.3 per cent in January 2014 compared with the same month in 2013.

Close to home in the southside and East Renfrewshire, community blogs and Facebook groups such as Southside Happenings, My Shawlands and have taken to recommending businesses in the area, and encouraging neighbours to share their favourite locally-sourced services.

A representative told The Extra: “We’re oftenasked for recommendations for anything from birthday party venues to kitchen suppliers. It’s always good to know that someone else has tried and liked the service.

“It’s our way of trying to support our local high street. We’re always pleasantly surprised when we use the local shops, and we’d encourage everyone to give them a try.”

Shop local is the message at the heart of the Business Improvement District (BID) scheme, of which there are two in East Renfrewshire alone — and the long-established I Love Clarkston campaign is launching into the new season with a brand makeover.

From new lamp post banners to a fresh website, the redesign was agreed by the BID’s committee, made up of local businesses, and is intended to remind residents of all that’s available on their doorstep.

Chair Gordon Paterson said: “We can’t wait for the new banners with a refreshed logo to go up.

“Many people are not aware of the fact that it is us, retailers, investing our money into banners, Christmas lights and popular events.

“With the new banners we want to welcome in spring with the Shop Local message.”

Paul Darroch, owner of the Hearing Centre in Hillview Drive, added: “Clarkston is a shopping destination well worth supporting. There is a huge selection of shops, good parking and excellent service.”

The new BID of the block, meanwhile, is Giffnock Village — a group established in October 2013 and “keen to support the character of Giffnock”.

Giffnock Village is launching a new scheme on March 1 which will reward those who work in the area with a loyalty discount.

There are more than 60 businesses in Giffnock — from restaurants to solicitors — and it is hoped that showing gratitude to the area’s employees will also keep them shopping local.

Giann Celino, chair of Giffnock Village, explained: “When I shop in Giffnock, I always receive a friendly service and find staff very helpful. I know a number of business owners feel the same way and we want to give something back to show our gratitude.

“There’s a strong community in Giffnock and we want to ensure that business employees are a part of this.”