[AD] This is a paid partnership with Northampton BID to promote the Golden Ticket competition. All photos, words and local loving are my own.
It’s Christmas time and I am here to encourage you to shop local and small during the festive season. Why? Because you have a choice to support a local independent business!
As you know, I am a big advocate when it comes to supporting local and independent business.
I made a decision not to work with chain restaurants and decline any invitations to big, national restaurant openings and whenever possible, I try to make conscious decisions on what I buy from where and I want to work with businesses that have the same morals and ethos as I do.
There is so much influence out there from the ‘big boys’ who have a huge marketing budget behind them as they can afford to shout about their great deals this Christmas. But what about the smaller businesses?
They can’t afford a big marketing campaign, they rely on word of mouth, social media and hopefully their loyal customers who will support them and constantly buy from them. That’s why it’s so sad when we constantly see closures of our most loved stores and businesses in Northamptonshire.
With many small businesses, they are run by one person whether it’s an Esty business, a small stall, a local food producer or even a shop. You could be making a huge difference to their businesses by shopping with them and I guarantee you’ll be putting a big smile on their faces too!
I truly believe a lot of a town’s character, persona and what makes it unique is the independent businesses that make it so. I can honestly say there is a LOT of love for Northamptonshire from many bloggers, publications and people who do support local – which is not what every town or county can say!
That is why I am delighted to be working with Northampton BID to help spread the word and awareness about their Golden Ticket competition which is in its 6th year, as it promotes everything to do with the town centre, supporting local businesses and encouraging people to shop local this Christmas.
I’ll be talking about the campaign more at the end of this blog post and what a day to publish this blog post than on Small Biz Saturday!
But for now, here is how you can support a local business this Christmas:
Ask for and share recommendations
If you want to support certain local businesses such as a homeware shop, a shop that sells homemade gifts, a dedicated food shop or anything else, there are plenty of places and people to ask for recommendations.
Little bit of a plug here, but I love it when people on my social media come to me for recommendations and I will always try and respond back. That’s why I do what I do, to help inspire and educate exactly what there is to do, see, eat and where to buy from in the local area.
And if you know of a local independent shop you think your friends and family would like: tell them or tag them in one of their social media posts to give them the recommendation!
Attend local Christmas Fayres
‘Tis the season to look out for and attend all the local Christmas fayres happening across the county which is always a great example of what small businesses are around.
I’ve discovered so many new ones this year thanks to attending local food, gift, and craft fairs this year and this is one of the most vital ways a small business can showcase themselves.
Some coming up include Delapre Abbey on 14th-15th, Vintage Retreat’s Vintage Fair today, Seasons Garden Centre’s Christmas fair next weekend and many more. You can find lots on my What’s On calendar or search on Facebook.
Even if I don’t necessarily buy something from a local business at that moment in time, I still have an awareness of them and I will most likely search for them on social media, like their page or follow them on Instagram for another occasion.
Support local farmers and buy local produce
If you’re thinking about getting ingredients and supplies for your Christmas Dinner, rather than head to the supermarket, there are lots of local producers, butchers and farmers of whom you can get your whole Christmas dinner sorted!
You can massively tell the difference when you buy something that’s been homegrown using local produce, or handmade rather than mass-produced in a supermarket and thankfully, Northamptonshire is THE county for food and drink, so you have lots to shop around.
Made in Northamptonshire has an online shop where you can purchase local produce and ingredients from local producers which you can order and get delivered straight to your door and currently have a big Christmas Sale on.
You can purchase things from a Northamptonshire Christmas Dinner Hamper, Christmas Gin, Cheese and Cracker Hamper and even a Warner’s Gin Hamper!
Or why not head to Beckworth Emporium, where you can explore their Food Emporium where you can shop from everyday food essentials to wonderful local fresh produce from craft brewers, Hambleton’s, their in-house butchers and all their local suppliers who they work in partnership with.
This year, we are getting our meat from Hartwells of Towcester and Towbury Court Fine Foods to get our local meat for our own Christmas dinner we are having on Christmas Eve and hope to stock up on local produce for the cheeseboard too!
Engage with social media and share the love
Social media is big these days and even a simple like, comment, retweet and share can make a massive difference to a local business.
A lot of small businesses will run and manage the social media themselves, due to a lack of marketing budget to hire someone else or an agency to do it.
I find when I share a local businesses’ post or if I share a product of theirs on social media, it can go a long way.
For example, when I did a collaboration with The Copper Kitchen and shared posts on my social media, Louise Pentland then discovered them thanks to me and has since been a regular customer of theirs when it comes to hiring them for functions!
There is a really good graphic which has been going around this time of year which shows exactly how you can support a local businesses and just engaging with them on social media is such a good example.
Do your Christmas shopping in your local town
It’s so very easy to click and buy from online websites such as Amazon, but I truly think the best kind of Christmas present can be found and purchased from your local high street.
One of the campaign’s I have been LOVING is the Visa UK one on #WhereYouShopMatters and I truly believe it DOES matter where you shop. You never know what you can find when you have a good mooch around your local town and how much of an impact your purchase can make someone’s day!
It can also make for a really lovely day out; go do your Christmas shopping, find a nice spot for coffee and lunch and you might come away with a much more personalised and unique present than you would if you were shopping online and in return, the receiver of those presents will know how much thought went into it.
We are lucky that we have so many unique and incredible local businesses in Northampton Town Centre that has so much to offer that you could literally buy a present for every single one of your loved ones here.
The Golden Ticket competition
This leads me on nicely to talking about the Northampton BID Golden Ticket competition which is a festive campaign designed to entice shoppers into Northampton Town Centre to raise the profile of local shops and businesses.
The campaign was first launched in 2014 by Northampton BID and has been growing in popularity ever since. This year, it will see 4 shoppers win £500 of vouchers to spend in the town centre shops and businesses of choice.
Golden Ticket post boxes are located at:
78 Derngate, Derngate
Abington FX, Abington Street
Costa Coffee, Abington Street
Daniel Granger, Abington Street
Debenhams, The Drapery
Les Olives, Sheep Street
Market Square Newsagents, Mercers Row
Market Walk Shopping Centre
Northampton Health Store, The Drapery
Pizza Express, Derngate
Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road
St Gyles Jewellers, St Giles Street
The Cordwainer, The Ridings
The Good Loaf, All Saints Church
The Grosvenor Centre
The Salvation Army, Gold Street
The Sandwich Bar, Bridge Street
Tourist Information Office, George Row
Vintage Guru, St Giles Street
Voni Blu, Castilian Street
The draw closes on Saturday 14th December (a week today!) so if you want a chance to win £500 of shopping vouchers, you best be quick and find your nearest Golden Ticket box to post your entry!