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Rotherham Showcases Its Independence

posted 9 Jul 2013, 02:53 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 19 Jul 2013, 02:21 ]
Rotherham's independent shops and market stalls were out in force on 4th July to support Independents' Day, the national campaign for local independent retailers.

The town centre has a strong focus on independent, niche retailers and was named as one of only 27 "Portas pilots" last year by the government and has had success in supporting new retailers with a business vitality scheme, Shop Local initiative and Pop-Up shops.

Living up to the motto of this year's event, Rotherham's independent shop owners incorporated a "My Shop is Your Shop" theme and invited people to come and see the range of quality goods for sale, buy at least one item and help keep money in the local economy.

Independent shop owners showcased colourful window displays, with branded posters, to raise awareness of the number and range of independents in the town centre.

National High Street business Wilkinsons were also on board and as an ongoing supporter of Independent businesses joined in by giving over one of their windows to promote the specialist offer in the town centre.

Rotherham's very own "Pop up High Street" also took to the road with a sample of quality retailers setting up stall at Parkgate Shopping on 5th July and at Rotherham General Hospital on 8th & 9th July. 

Laura Bullock, owner of Bittersweet Boutique and Independent's Day co-ordinator said: "The level of customer service and the range of goods on sale is fantastic, from shops selling items as varied handmade chocolates, vintage clothing, luxury handmade goods and kitsch curios!

"Across the town everyone recognised which businesses are independent and hopefully we can get across our message of "shop local and support your town" which is very important to all of the independents.

"I'm a Rotherham resident and it's incredibly important to me to see our town centre thriving with originality and creativity. With your help we can make this happen."

Councillor Gerald Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development, added: "Rotherham is delivering on its promise to become the benchmark for revitalised town centres. In the past couple of years we've welcomed a range of new independent retailers to the town centre and developed a reputation for offering an "independent alternative" to the clone shopping malls.

"Going forward, in order for the town centre to succeed it needs the support of those living and working in the borough; for every pound spent locally 50 to 70p is recycled within the local economy, something that is hugely important for Rotherham.

Jane Rexworthy, head of the National Skills Academy for Retail, said: "People are passionate about their local shops and appreciate the contribution they make to a town's personality. But we all need to make sure we use them and show support for these businesses.

"Independents' Day is an exciting way to showcase the variety of independent retailers and traders in the UK, and get the British public spending in them."