Opinion: Small can be beautiful

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People often complain that shopping has lost the personal touch with so much of it done online or in characterless big name stores.

Particularly in the run-up to Christmas it can be easier to click your mouse rather than venture out onto the high streets.

But tomorrow we urge you to think differently.

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

Shoppers are being encouraged to seek out their local independent stores, which are proven to put more money back into the local economy.

Sheffield is well-served with shops in Ecclesall Road and Sharrowvale Road competing with fellow independent stores in the city centre shops on Division Street, Devonshire Street and West Street.

But it’s not just Sheffield. Rotherham has made major strides around the Imperial Buildings and on the town centre’s High Street with several quality establishments. And there are pockets of independents in parts of Barnsley and Doncaster too.

Christmas is a vital time for all shops but even more so for smaller independents who don’t have the marketing budgets of their big-name rivals.