Call to celebrate Sheffield’s vibrant independent traders

Small business Saturday in Sheffield. Joe Elgarice from Rag Parade on Division Street.
Small business Saturday in Sheffield. Joe Elgarice from Rag Parade on Division Street.
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Sheffield has many vibrant, friendly and quirky independent shops to shout about – and tomorrow residents will be encouraged to buy small to boost local traders.

Small Business Saturday, a national campaign, will be marked in the city with the launch of free parking after 2pm on Saturdays in the countdown to Christmas.

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The Star spoke to shoppers and traders on Devonshire Street to find out why shopping at smaller firms, rather than large chains, is so important...

Sisters Caro and Paula Whiteside manage the Natural Bed Company, one of several shops that could be affected by plans for 14 apartments and shops, cafes or bars.

A petition signed by 18,000 people against the proposal was handed in to Sheffield Council and the plan is set to be heard by January.

Caro said: “I think for a lot of people it is just easy to get in the routine of going to Meadowhall or shopping online.

“It’s really important, if you want to have a thriving high street, to shop locally as well.”

Research by the Centre for Economic Strategies shows for every pound spent with a local, independent business, between 50p and 70p circulates back into the local economy.

By comparison, for every pound spent online or out of town, only around 5p trickled back into the local economy.

National figures from Direct Line for Business also show the average person who supports the campaign will spend £24.39 at non-chain shops.

Caro added: “We make our beds here in Sheffield and try to stock other local traders as well, like our Sheffield tote bags which are by a local photographer and are going really well.

“It’s all about boosting the local economy.

“In the future we would like to move to larger premises – that’s the hope as we have quite a large range of beds – but we really do hope that this area remains independent shopping.”

Nearby at Syd & Mallory, young business owner Joe Elgarice sells vintage and military menswear as part of his Rag Parade business.

The 23-year-old said: “I sell to people as far away as London and Tokyo who want specific items.

“Not everyone thinks about shopping locally for things so it seems good for businesses to get this kind of support.”

Sheffield Council is offering the free parking and urging people to support traders in areas such as Chapel Walk, The Moor market, Sharrowvale Road and Hillsborough.

Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, said: “Sheffield has a real buzz of creativity, and we want it to be a place where independent traders and small businesses are given the tools and support they need to thrive.

“This Saturday, I would encourage people to see what small businesses have to offer.”

But trader Nick Morgan, who owns the Filibuster and Booth vintage jewellery, art and antiquities shop on Devonshire Street, said the council needed to do more to help local businesses.

He said there were problems with groups and street drinkers hanging around the area and he had not been made aware of the free parking.

Nick added: “It costs £25 to park in the car park across the road for a full day – this is not Kensington and Chelsea.

“I think a lot more should be done to support local traders.”

Free parking for shoppers will run in council car parks and on-street parking bays, in the city centre and district shopping centres, from 2pm tomorrow and Saturday, December 13, and Saturday, December 20.