Editor: Supporting each other is the clearest path to our success
I got frustrated while trying to shop last week, had I been a bit younger I might well have thrown myself on the floor and made a fuss – toddler-style.
Sadly, I’m far too old to get away with that these days but I still feel it would have been a justified response. One of our Star team members was leaving Sheffield to move closer to his family and I wanted to send him on his way with a few Steel City treats.
So I nipped into Waitrose, then Tesco and then Co-op … to no success. There was not a single sweet, cake, coffee or even beer that had been made in Sheffield.
Ok, all three had Hendos but I was hoping for a little more than to send him on his way with one bottle of relish, delicious though it is.
These are all stores that encourage us to shop with them, that tell us they support British farming and that appear to work with their communities but they clearly don’t bother to stock our products.
Now I know there are some supermarkets, and perhaps even branches of some of these chains, that are more aware of local needs and feelings – but it just isn’t good enough.
Fortunately, later that same day I made a meeting with Sheffield’s very own family-owned department store, Atkinsons.
As luck would have it, they completely understand that they need the support of city folk if they are to stand a chance of survival.
They also get that they can make a difference to smaller businesses – all independent, just like them – by stocking more of their products.
They also want to offer pop-up space to Sheffield makers, giving them a chance to flourish together.
Atkinsons is our ‘last man standing’ and it is vital Sheffielders appreciate what they have or it too won’t survive.
Far too many small makers have not been able to re-emerge after lockdown and these difficult days are not over yet.
Let’s take heart in a move by a proud, Sheffield name that could be a lifeline to traders and offer shoppers a real alternative.
We as a city have always been good at supporting each other but it has never been more needed than now.
So I hope you’ll join me in backing Atkinsons and we can all see the impact of spending our money where it can make a true difference to people right here.
Nobody understands blitz spirit more than Atkinsons.