‘Small Business Saturday’ is a grass-roots campaign that encourages people to shop locally and support small businesses in the community. This year, Small Business Saturday is took place on Saturday 5th December.
To mark this Sarah Atherton met with a variety of businesses in Wrexham to hear from them about the importance of supporting local businesses during this crucial time.
“Many small businesses in Wrexham and across the country have been devasted by the coronavirus outbreak, with many having to close their doors to help slow and prevent the spread of the virus.
“This year more than ever, it is important that we show our support by making the choice to shop locally and support small businesses who are at the heart of our communities.
“Wrexham has a variety of small businesses that need your support. From cafes, to gyms and everything in between. Everything we need can be found on our doorstep. To mark this year’s Small Business Saturday, I met with Wrexham business owners to hear just how important it is that we show them our support.”
Meet Wrexham’s business owners
Kicking off the visits was Powerzone Gym, on Rivulet Road, Wrexham, which utilised the first lockdown to undertake a £70,000 upgrade. The gym specialises in bodybuilding, offering flexible membership and military discounts. During her visit, Sarah met with gym owner Cain Wynne to discuss the impact that the pandemic has had on his businesses and the vital role that gyms play in our community.
“As a local business owner this last year has been tough. We have spent months in lockdowns, and it has been made worse by the fact that the rules have been different between gyms here and the gyms just three miles away in England. I really believe that gyms are some of the safest places for people to be and that physical and mental fitness, which gyms provide, are so important.
“Sarah has been fighting our corner throughout this pandemic and I’m grateful to her for that. As the year comes to an end, I am looking forward to a better 2021!”
Sarah also met with the owner of The Lemon Tree Restaurant and Hotel, which is based in a Grade II listed neo-gothic building in the centre of Wrexham. During the visit they discussed the importance of supporting our hospitality sector, which has been hard hit by this pandemic.
Highlighting the impact on the hospitality sector, Sam Regan, one of the Managing Directors of The Lemon Tree, said:
“2020 has been significantly difficult for many reasons, with hospitality being one of the most heavily effected sectors of the economy due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As well as being the Managing Director of The Lemon Tree, I am also Chair of the This Is Wrexham Partnership, a not-for-profit organisation which was set up to promote sustainability and growth in Wrexham's tourism and hospitality sectors. This year my role has been to act as a voice between our member businesses, the local authority, our regional partners, and the Government in order to attempt to make the best of a very poor situation.
“I'm grateful to Sarah and her team for all the support given. Even though there have been some very tough discussions and debates along the way, our voices have always been heard and our comments taken on board.
“Wrexham has a wide range of independent businesses and now more than ever it's critical to show your support to ensure their survival.”
Keeping to the hospitality theme, Sarah visited Heaven Coffee Shop in Lord Street, Wrexham.
The owner Adam Bury, said:
“Lockdown has been a very tough time for us, but thanks to our amazing clients we have been able to stay open.
“We re-opened in accordance with the Government guidelines, ensuring the safety of all of our customers. This included measures to ensure that customers keep a two metres distance at all times, there is ready access to hand sanitiser and the regular cleaning of the cafe. When we reopen, we want every client that enters the cafe to feel safe and secure – this remains one of our top priorities!”
Gresford Fish Bar, a family-run fish and chip, and takeaway business in Gresford, opened their doors for the first time shortly before the announcement of the first lockdown.
Commenting, the owner, Bulent Akarsu said:
“Having just opened our doors before lockdown, we quickly had to adapt to the coronavirus restrictions in place. However, the addition of social distancing measures and hand sanitiser stations meant that we were able to remain open in a takeaway capacity.”
Finally, Sarah made a joint visit to Nat Cargius Hairdressers and Natural Balance, at Darland House in Rossett. With over thirty years of experience as a hair stylist, Nat opened his own salon six years ago. After lockdown restrictions were lifted he expanded his business, joining forces with Natural Balance Physiotherapy and Reiki practitioner, Lisa Griffiths, to create ‘a place of wellbeing’.
Sharing his experience of re-opening following the lifting of lockdown in Wales, Nat said:
“As we work in a close contact profession, it was important that we took all of the necessary steps to keep ourselves and our customers safe. We did this by implementing an effective cleaning regime with the addition of PPE, for our staff and clients. Furthermore, we kept records of clients in accordance to Test, Trace and Protect guidelines, whilst having a one client limit in the salon at any given time.
“During the early stages of the pandemic, news stories turned their attention to the hair industry. There was a realisation that hairdressers were not just cutting hair but were also often very much part of the clients’ life – a confidant and shoulder to cry on. It's the first time that, in the British psyche, we've been recognised for the support we give to clients, and highlighted the importance of our small businesses, who are the backbone of our nation.”
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