Shop Local draws to an end

The Shop Local for Christmas movement has had a positive impact on the high streets of Diss and Harleston, shopkeepers said this week.

Traders have praised the affect of the Mercury's festive campaign, which is encouraging shoppers to support local independent businesses.

And with just a few more shopping hours to go, people are being urged to send in their Shop Local 'passports' to be in with the chance of winning �1,000.

Shopkeepers in Diss and Harleston have reported a busy period with the tills ringing for the final few weeks before Christmas. And participating stores have been distributing Shop Local stickers like hot cakes when people spend �10 or more.

Sue Kuzmic, town council chairman and owner of the Batty Candle Shop in Harleston, said she had met some people who were on their second passport.

'It has been successful, certainly in Harleston, Absolutely everything helps, but I think the Shop Local campaign itself has focused people's minds on shopping local and avoiding shopping in Norwich because the queues are too massive. Certainly we have had a lot of new people coming in since Shop Local started and every little helps,' she said.

Andy Norman, of Hemstock's Jewellers in Diss, added that the shop had given away more than 30 Shop Local passports and had almost ran out of stickers.

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'It seems a lot busier, which is partly down to the snow, but people have been coming in with their Shop Local cards. The fact it is not just Wymondham and Diss appeals to a lot of people. Last week was crazy and hopefully this week will follow suit,' he said.

Janet Harrowven, of Ajandek gift shop in Harleston, said Shop Local and late night shopping on a Wednesday had given a boost to retail in the town.

'It has been a busy Christmas and it has been worthwhile opening late. I think generally it [Shop Local] has worked and I think it would be a good move to do it again next year,' she said.

Roy Minshull, owner of Toy Box Toys in Diss, added that the scheme had been well received by his customers and he had given away many Shop Local passports and stickers.

'I think it has been quite positive and it has worked quite well.'

He added that trade was brisk this festive season.

'It was a bit slow to start off with, but the nearer we get to Christmas, the busier it gets. We should finish on a par with last year, which we will be happy with,' he said.