Editor: Times like these should make us appreciate a little more
None of us have celebrated the good times enough recently, because they have been utterly overshadowed by bad.
It was with great joy that we came together with the city’s best small businesses last night to say thanks, to give praise and to hear some incredible stories.
Our small firms are the ones that not only make Sheffield unique but are the lifeblood of where we live.
The dark days of lockdown were incredibly hard for them. Many of them had to completely close, in some cases not long after launching. We heard cases where they were too new to receive any government support, when they locked the doors not knowing if they would ever be able to return and when they had absolutely no idea how they would pay the bills or put food on the table.
The tales of isolation, worry for their workforces and fear of the future are not unusual but what shone through at The Star Small Business Awards was the determination to grow and fight to improve.
I could not believe how many of these entrepreneurs had not only picked themselves up off the floor but had risen up to create jobs and reach higher than ever before.
They were truly inspirational. They support their city, they employ Sheffielders and they work so hard it is hard to comprehend.
We can help them back by using their services, buying their products and enjoying their skills.
It isn’t really very difficult. In fact, these are firms which are so good you would be foolish to look anywhere else.
Some of them have somehow managed to get an international reach this year against the odds and others are thriving just here.
When you ask any family business what their highs and lows have been, you may possibly be met with tears for both answers. It was always the people who saw them through. It was the words of kindness, the treats dropped off to raise spirits and the communities who rallied regardless.
They survived lockdowns and things far beyond what we could have imagined two years ago. Now we can celebrate by supporting our local businesses and appreciating our own city a little bit more. Sheffielders are phenomenal and we should never underestimate ourselves.