Harleston traders support Shop Local

Established and new businesses in Harleston have given a thumbs up to the Mercury's Shop Local for Christmas campaign, which is gaining momentum by the week.

The bustling market town is renowned for its large number of independent stores and there are very few national chains on the high street.

Now traders are looking forward to an extra boost as word of the Shop Local scheme spreads, which will see one reader from each participating town winning �1,000 just in time for Christmas.

Sue Kuzmic, Harleston Town Council chairman and owner of the Batty Candle Shop praised the campaign and said that Harleston had a lot to offer.

'It is a great idea and a lot of shops in Harleston are signing up. The town has at least three very different gift shops, which is really nice because people have lots of choice,' she said.

She added that her shop in Broad Street offered a wide range of 'stocking filler' presents such as Christmas can-dles, wind chimes, and candle holders.

Kate Fisher, of Kate Fisher Ceramics, has recently relocated from Pulham Market to Harleston where visitors can watch her make pottery gifts such as mugs, jugs, vases, and tealight holders. She added that it was 'pretty handy' that she was opening her new shop just as Shop Local was being launched.

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'I feel there is quite a strong art community around here. It is nice to get involved with and build relationships with other people in the town,' she said.

Julie Helsby, community support manager for Harleston Information Plus, said the building in Exchange Street was not just an advice centre but a place where you can buy books and DVDs on the local area.

'Whatever you want you can buy it in town,' she said.

Pauline Harris, owner of Polly's Place women's clothes shop, added: 'We have had a fairly good summer and autumn and it has been incredibly quiet the last few weeks. We are grateful for this scheme [Shop Local] and hopefully it will get more local people to shop more local rather than going to Norwich.'

Carly Newton, of Pen and Paper, said the shop was a popular place for people looking to make their own Christ-mas cards and turning their artwork and photographs into canvas prints.

Next week, we will find out how people in Diss are responding to the scheme.