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Shoppers in Highlands urged to support Small Business Saturday this weekend

By Alan Hendry

A HIGHLAND business leader is urging shoppers in the north to support Small Business Saturday and give local businesses a boost.

Small Business Saturday – which falls on December 7 this year – is an annual celebration of small, independent businesses the length and breadth of the UK.

It encourages people to go out and visit their local businesses – including shops, restaurants, cafés and bars – to see the quality, range and value for money on offer. The hope is that they will keep returning throughout the year.

David Richardson, development manager in the Highlands and Islands for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Our high streets and their small, independent businesses face challenges from large multiples and the internet every day of the year and a single day’s trading can never resolve matters.

"However, if we all use perhaps the busiest shopping day of the year – Small Business Saturday – to keep our spending truly local, we can give these firms a real boost. Not only that, but if we explore businesses that we have never visited before, who knows what we might find?

"The range, quality and value for money can be truly amazing and, once visited, there is every likelihood that we’ll return time and time again.

David Richardson warns that if we don’t use local businesses we lose them.
David Richardson warns that if we don’t use local businesses we lose them.

"But it doesn’t stop on the high street. There are countless local businesses that make things, repair things, provide professional services and so on, and we should make these businesses our first port of call when a job needs doing – not assume that everything big and based elsewhere is always beautiful.

“The sad fact is that if we don’t use local businesses we lose them, and every time a small business closes and is not replaced, its community dies a little. So keep trade local and keep your community healthy.”

Mr Richardson points out that there are more businesses in Scotland now than at any time since records began in 2000 – 50 per cent more. Moreover, he says, overall numbers have increased by 2.8 per cent in the last year alone, a net increase of 26 new businesses per day.

While small, medium and large businesses (businesses with one or more employee) have seen respectable growth since 2000 – by 17, 19 and 8 per cent respectively – owner-managed businesses with no employees have grown by 71 per cent.

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