Parking charges are to be waived by the Mayor of Liverpool on a Saturday leading up to Christmas as part of a national initiative to encourage consumers to shop local and support small businesses in their communities.
Small Business Saturday takes place for the very first time in the UK on 7 December 2013 for small businesses to promote themselves and generate trade.
Following meetings between the Mayor and the Forum of Private Businesses, Pay and Display bays on Bold Street, Newington and Renshaw Street will be suspended from 10am to help generate extra footfall.
Areas across the city will also be taking part in Small Business Saturday including Allerton Road, Lodge Lane, Smithdown Road, Old Swan and West Derby Village and in Wavertree, Luciana Berger MP will also be out and about supporting shops and businesses.
In Liverpool, the initiative is being led by Mayor Joe Anderson and the city council who have joined forces with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Liverpool Vision, the city’s economic development company, and City Central BID.
Councillor Nick Small, cabinet member for employment, enterprise and skills, said: “In the US, where Small Business Saturday is an established commercial holiday, it generated $5.5 billion in sales in 2012.
“This is a day to encourage people to visit the shops on their high streets and a day when we will celebrate small business, because they are often found at the heart of communities and they generate wealth and create jobs.
“This is just one day, but we rely on them every day and their importance to the economy cannot and should not be underestimated.”
Small Business Saturday also coincides with FSB’s Keep Trade Local campaign to raise awareness of the plight of local shops and to breathe life back into village, towns and cities.
Elaine Moore, FSB regional chairman, said: “Small businesses are at the heart of Liverpool City Region’s economy and its communities, but are facing huge challenges at present.
“Falling in the crucial pre-Christmas period, Small Business Saturday is a timely reminder for shoppers to go out and spend their money in local independent retailers. We are also launching our Keep Trade Local campaign in Liverpool – our message to consumers as far as small shops are concerned is simply ‘use them or lose them.’
“We are joining forces with Liverpool City Council and Liverpool Vision for Small Business Saturday in order to support small businesses across this city region and it is important that we draw attention to good practice where it exists. Liverpool City Council’s decision to offer free parking on the day, and its policy of paying supplier invoices within 30-days, are fantastic initiatives and very welcome.”
As part of a trial, several shops in the city centre will also be offering a two-hour free parking permit for use on 25 January 2014 to anyone who visits an independent small business on Small Business Saturday.
It’s a further initiative supported by City Central BID, whose Chairman, Ian Ward said: “We work with more than 600 businesses in the city centre and initiatives like this are important if we are to ensure that Liverpool continues to thrive as a retail and leisure destination.
“Christmas is the crucial time for retailers – particularly for smaller, independent shops, and it’s important we support them beyond this traditional peak. Offering further incentives to shoppers after the holiday when business will be slower is the right approach to take.”
Pictured above: Phil McCabe, Development Manager, Merseyside, West Cheshire and Wigan Federation of Small Businesses; Elaine Moore, Regional Chair Merseyside , West Cheshire andWigan, FSB; Councillor Nick Small, cabinet member for employment and skills; Tony O’Neill, head of Business Growth, Liverpool Vision; Councillor Tim Moore, cabinet member for transport and climate change
Meet some independent businesses Cakes Galore, an independent cake/party paraphernalia shop based in the heart of West Derby Village.
Cakes Galore is more than just what it says on the sign and also provides tailored party packages in a bespoke service including balloons and other party paraphernalia.
Most customers are from the local community and proprietor Joanne Jones has been facing tough competition from wholesale outlets and larger supermarkets, but personalised high quality service still brings in the business.
She said: “We’ve been providing a service to the people of West Derby for over 17 years now. What marks out small, independent businesses like ours is our ability to get to know our customers personally and to care about the same things that they care about.”
Blossoms by Flowery Hazel, started a flower stall in the city centre and has now opened a shop in north Liverpool off Scotland Road.
Proprietor, Hazel Ellis, said: “Opening the second shop was a real achievement. Being part of and getting to know our customers around Stanley Road and the city centre really helps us to build our service around them. What’s important to my customer is important to me – and that’s where small, local, independent businesses can make the difference.”