"Local people should shop local" - Sheffield business owner's plea as footfall continues to decline
A Sheffield business owner has asked people to shop local to help restore footfall in the area and save local businesses.
Businesses throughout Banner Cross have reportedly seen footfall decline sharply over the last 18 months and need more support from locals and the council.
Nasar Raoof, who owns the post office at Banner Cross, thinks that without more support it will eventually be forced to close.
Nasar said: “Local people should shop local. Those initiatives are fantastic. Instead of going to the bank in the town centre, or going to Clintons to buy a card, go to your local post office.
"Footfall is down in the whole area of Banner Cross. In the postal world there will be more decline now that things are open.
“The end of lockdown has put us in a worse position. During lockdown things were manic and we were just about managing to survive.
"This year’s Christmas is going to be a strange one, things are open again so people won’t be posting as much.”
Nasar explained that the council needed to do more to support businesses in Banner Cross as some are barely getting by.
He said: “The council could come out and speak to us about the issues. Banner Cross has a parking issue. You are annoying residents by parking here because there are no parking spaces. That has contributed to its decline.
"Other businesses have had support to change shop fronts to make them look more appealing and Banner Cross has not had that. That would really help people around here, it would give it a nice look when people walk past.
“Support with business rates would mean that business would save that little bit more money. Business rates for the post office is about £2800 a year, which is about one months income at the moment. We pay about £2000 in wages a month.
“Sometimes after I have paid staff wages and other expenses I can’t take home a wage. Some months I end up working practically for free.
“The post office has been around for 15-20 years. It brings a lot of people to the area that end up using other shops, it has a knock-on effect.
“The decline may mean that one day the community loses the post office.”
Johanne Elmore, owner of gift store, Just For You, has had a business in Banner Cross for the last 15 years and is hopeful that the area is starting to recover.
She said: “I feel more people are supporting local businesses.
“In the pandemic people didn’t want to go into the city centre or Meadowhall. We became a safer alternative.
“I feel like we are doing better than before the pandemic. We have been steady for the months we have been open. We’ve been closed for seven and a half of the last 16 months.
“It has been hard, hard work trying to keep the shop up and running.”
Johanne agreed that parking is an issue in Banner Cross that is limiting footfall.
She added: “The council started charging for parking, but people want free parking.
“Why don’t they allow you to park on one side of the road. It does make a difference.
"Banner Cross was a busy area. I am hopeful it will come back.”
Sheffield Hallam MP, Olivia Blake, who has an office in Banner Cross, said: “Banner Cross is a vibrant area at the heart of Hallam and such an important asset to our community.
"I wanted my constituency office to be accessible to everyone, and Banner Cross, with its many shops, social enterprises and good transport links, was the perfect location.
"Sadly, because of the pandemic I haven't spent as much time there as I would have liked but I am really looking forward to spending more time out and about on the high street - and hosting local people in the office too!”