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Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Independents’ Day

Independent ButcherBy the time you read the next SUSTAiN Alert, Independents’ Day may have come and partially gone. Although the next Alert will come out on July 1st, many readers will pick it up on July 4th, which is Independents’ Day, but much of its focus will be on the preceding weekend, July 2nd/3rd.

Some of you, by now, will be thinking ‘he can’t spell it, and why is he rattling about an excuse to wave the stars and stripes over the pond anyway?’ But, no, I have it right, because, here in the UK, we are using the same date to celebrate and support our independent shopkeepers and small businesses, and here in Solihull will be no exception.

‘Solihull Independents Day’ sets out to support our more than 700 independent businesses, which all make a vital contribution to the borough’s economy; providing and adding prosperity to communities as well diversifying the offer to potential purchasers..

So, independent retailers and businesses across the borough will be making offers and giving Independents’ Day incentives for folk to ‘shop local’ on July 4th, and for some businesses open at the weekend, on July 2nd and 3rd as well.

This event provides a great opportunity to turn back the tide that may have seen convenience prevail over our shopping, but has also seen quality of produce decline, the closure of many shops and other businesses run by people in our communities who have struggled to compete, and profits pile into the pockets of remote shareholders and business moguls rather than providing a wage for local entrepreneurs.

Recent history has given us an opportunity to look at Sir Philip Green and Mike Ashley and see the picture of money movements beyond the tills of at least some of our national chains and most of us do not like what we see……..

Personally, as a regular customer of Eric Lyons Butchers in Knowle, Wedge’s Bakery at Illshaw Heath, Vernon James in Bentley Heath, The Bread Collection in Knowle, Berryfields Farm Shop in Meriden and Royle Household in Knowle amongst others, I can testify to the excellent service, good advice, sound quality of product and surprising affordability that can be available in the independent sector.

So, take an opportunity in two weeks’ time to give some of local shops and/or businesses a whirl. If you use the independents already, celebrate the fact they are still there. If you don’t, you might like what you find – and go again!

And, if you need a little help to find these independents, the Council are launching social media pages on Twitter and Facebook which will showcase a different business every day in July and have already created a web page with a location map of a host of independent outlets..