Preston people encouraged to 'spend a fiver' to put millions back into local economy

Preston market has joined up with 'Totally Locally', the organisation behind the national 'Fiver Fest' scheme, encouraging shoppers to spend just £5 in local independent shops and market stalls to give back to the local economy. James Holt reports.

By James Holt
Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 3:54 pm

To celebrate independently-owned businesses in Preston, Fiver Fest acknowledges the impact that they have on the UK economy and our high street.

Preston Market announced that they will be participating in the national scheme from October 10 to 24, in a bid to encourage Preston's shoppers to support local and give back to the economy.

The campaign states that if every adult in Preston spent just five pounds a week supporting local traders, it would generate £23.9 million per year directly into the economy.

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In turn this would help support the high street, form a stronger economy and increase job prospects and opportunity.

The Post visited Preston Market, on Earl Street, to talk to stall owners who had battled throughout the pandemic and are now eager for shoppers to head out and buy their produce.

Tracy Taylor, owner of the Fresh and Fruity stall said: "I think it would be brilliant if everyone came out to spend just five pounds with us, it would be wonderful. I do think people have found it easier shopping in smaller and family owned establishment than the supermarket.

"I feel it is a nicer experience because going to small businesses is often much more personable and friendly and obviously, we sell local produce so always have that availability and don't run out of stock.

Tracy Taylor of the Fresh and Fruity market stall said it would be 'brilliant' if people supported the scheme

"We are lucky enough to keep all our supply chains going and now need the support of people to continue our hard work. We have been busier and are now expanding to a bigger stall to make more space for ourselves and our customers, who have been loyal to us throughout the pandemic and continued shopping with us."

Valerie Sergeant, owner of Wise Buys Hair and Beauty in Preston's busy market hall said: "People should stop shopping online and come out to continue supporting us. Most people seem to have gone to online buying to be honest. Of course our sales have been down which we need to get back up in time for Christmas with the support of shoppers.

"I don't think enough has been done to encourage people to come out and shop locally, there is always more work to be done. Hopefully people behave themselves, wear their masks and follow guidelines so they can get back out again and support stalls like mine."

Local businesses have been known to struggle throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with many traders admitting they were unsure if they would be able to re-open after the first wave and initial lockdown.

Valerie Sergeant of Wise Buys hair and beauty also agreed that people need to be encouraged to support local traders

Last week, Karen Davie, owner of the Karen's collectibles store on the outdoor market, told The Post that she felt independent business owners had been 'left at the bottom of the barrell' by the government.

Sam Livesey, of Adrian Livesey's butchers said: "I think hopefully the fiver fest will have a positive impact on people's shopping habits. If companies can give a bit back to the general public, it shows we support them as well as them supporting us so it keeps local money local.

"In our job, keeping produce local and customer base local is important to keep us running. The campaign is absolutely a positive thing, people have been supporting local shops throughout Covid-19. The week before lockdown we saw a massive increase in trade and we hadn't seen anything like that.

"Meat was the same as the toilet roll with people stocking up and supermarket shelves were empty so they turned to local traders. We were doing hundreds of orders every week helping the general public working 18 hours a day, we tried so hard. Now numbers have began to drop again it is frustrating, so I hope this encourages people to come out and hope it has a positive effect for us."

Sam Livesey, from Adrian Livesey's butchers in the indoor market, supports the scheme giving back to the local economy

Councillor Robert Boswell, Cabinet Member for Environment at Preston City Council said:

"Fiver Fest is a wonderful national campaign to get people to shop local and discover independent businesses in their area. This is the third time Preston Markets has taken part in Fiver Fest which has previously been a huge success for the traders allowing them showcase their products and attract new business.

"Preston Markets offer great value, local produce and relies on the support of people in the city; it's vital that we all support local business both during Fiver Fest and beyond."

More information on Fiver Fest can be found HERE.