We are currently still in very difficult economic times wouldn’t you agree? However, when you hit a wall the only way to get over it is to climb and that’s what retailers should be doing right now. Trust your instinct more and embrace change; don’t hide under a rock or run to the hills!
Here in Hebden Bridge and surrounding areas we are so lucky to have so many small businesses on our doorstep whose owners believe passionately about being an independent retailer. This is essential for the character of our town and it gives us a unique feel and vibrancy that you don’t tend to find elsewhere. Because of this we attract many visitors to the area and in particular to Hebden Bridge. Some are day trippers, some weekenders and some do stay longer but all are valuable to the economy of the town. This summer in particular saw the ‘Gentleman Jack’ effect ripple round Calderdale with many American fans descending on the area to walk in Anne Lister’s shoes.
Of course communities without thriving businesses would be far less interesting places to reside in so retailers also rely on those that live and work here. Many shops, cafes and pubs have their regulars, which instills a real sense of community spirit and more connectivity. It’s encouraging to see locals not just talking the talk but walking the walk and becoming more ‘town proud’. Spending hard earned pennies locally really does boost our economy and this year’s Fiver Fest weeks in June and October that we organised proved this.
November 21st saw the launch of the very popular Totally Locally Festive Fandango. This scheme helps to boost Christmas spending in Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Heptonstall and Cragg Vale and is an important part of the support the Hebden Bridge Business Forum offers local businesses. 2018 saw more than 1000 completed cards bringing £25,000 in to the local economy during the critical pre-Christmas period for retailers.
Please make sure you continue to support your local shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs and take part in Festive Fandango. Pick up your card from the Visitor Centre, or any retailer in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd, to join in and enter the free draw to win a cash prize donated by great local businesses: Ryburne Insurance Brokers, Ansvar Insurance, Cragg Builders and Craggs Country Business Park.
At our first business networking event of 2020 in January we will be unveiling the dates for the next Fiver Fest as well as making sure businesses are prepared for the challenges ahead; including extensive and long term flood alleviation works beginning in Hebden Bridge. Please register your interest by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s make 2020 out of the ordinary and disrupt the predictable!