Mark Independents' Day by supporting local businesses

‘Shop local, support local’ is the message from the Royal Borough (RBWM) in the run-up to ‘Independents’ Day’ on Saturday.

Independents’ Day UK is a year-round campaign which promotes independent retail business but has an annual focus on July 4.

This year Independents’ Day coincides with the re-opening of the hospitality sector, which has been in lockdown since the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the country in March.

In light of the struggles businesses have faced because of the COVID-19 crisis, Maidenhead town manager, Steph James, says ‘we’re doing a little bit more about Independents’ Day this year’.

Through the RBWM Twitter account the council has been tweeting interviews with independent business owners who explain how they have adapted for survival during lockdown.

“While there’s still social distancing in place, while there’s still advice to maybe stay more local where they can, we want people to support local where they can and support our local businesses,” Steph said.

“Independent business is what makes retail and hospitality, our leisure industry unique.

“If we were just full of chain shops our towns up and down the country would be the same and be very bland so I think we should celebrate the difference that they bring, the unique products, the unique service.”

Craft Coop in Nicholsons, which will re-open from today, is just one local business dependent on support from the community.

The store’s director, Deborah Jones said: “If local people don’t support local businesses they’ll just disappear.

“They depend so much on the support of people in the town that when that’s not there, then the shop is forced to close and all the things that make the town nice all disappear.”

Deborah Jones says supporting local businesses is about ‘supporting your own’ and in the case of Crafts Coop this means the ‘teeny businesses’ of 50 local crafts people.

Another business in the Royal Borough which adapted during lockdown is Windsor and Eton Brewery.

The core of the business is brewing beer for pubs, and also running a few, but when pubs shut that part of the business stopped and a home delivery business was started.

Willie Calvert, Windsor and Eton Brewery director, said the service has ‘been really popular’ and he hopes it will be an ongoing business even when pubs re-open on Saturday.

“Although trade will go back to pubs, we think that some of the effects of the lockdown will endure,” he said.

He said Windsor and Eton Brewery ‘is absolutely dependent on local support’ which it gets ‘in droves’.

“There is probably no business in Windsor that is lucky enough to enjoy such support from the community as we do and without that we probably wouldn’t have survived.”

Steph added: “If you don’t support these businesses they will go under, and I think especially now they’ve been able to re-open, actually physically going into those businesses and shopping with them is really important.”

W Craft Coop will open between 10am-2pm on Fridays and 10am-4pm on Saturdays.

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