It’s the Season to Shop Local
Picture credit: Shop SE19, 2021
Small Business Saturday 2021 on 4th December marked a great festive opener for our local community in Crystal Palace.
Each year, a Christmas Tree Lights-Up ceremony is held on Small Business Saturday to encourage people to come together, shop locally and support our community.
Each December for the last three years, our South London community has crowd-funded a community Christmas Tree for Crystal Palace, with pledges from local residents and businesses. The Crystal Palace Festival team, who organises and coordinates the fundraising, held a light-up event with the man himself, Father Christmas. They also coordinate a programme of funded outdoor entertainment featuring local community choirs and musicians throughout December.
The message of Shop Small has been truly embraced by our South London community and our three connecting high streets (The Crystal Palace Triangle) and roads leading to them are dominated by independent shops, as well as a thriving vintage and eco-conscious scene, including our weekly organic food market, refill options, a vibrant Transition Town organisation and one of the UK’s first high street Library of Things, based at Upper Norwood Library Hub. All with the common goal of creating a vibrant, resilient community and local high street. In common with many British high streets, there are still so many uncertainties for small businesses, but working together with the support of a nationally-recognised campaign makes a huge difference to trade, morale and shopper behaviour. Saadia Baig, who launched Haven Wellness, her high street apothecary and treatment centre in Crystal Palace, almost exactly one year ago during the winter lockdown of 2020 commented: “It’s been incredibly humbling how many people walk in saying clearly that they want to support small makers and businesses, and have been actively redirecting their shopping.” Justine Crow, co-owner of long-established high street favourite indie bookshop The Bookseller Crow on the Hill, said: “A vibrant coordinated event such as Small Business Saturday is vitally important for us independent traders, because the marketing reach goes beyond the local high street and sends a message we can all use to maximise interest and sales on a much larger scale than any of us could achieve individually”. Kate McGhee, co-founder of ShopSE19, the organisation set up three years ago to champion an independent Crystal Palace high street, agrees:
“We were inspired by the model of Small Business Saturday to create SE19Lates, an annual series of December local shopping events, where our high street shops and venues were the star attractions. Shopping small, staying local and supporting local businesses however we can at the moment, feels like exactly the right thing to be doing. These businesses serve our community all year round and have operated through their most challenging period yet. It’s great to find more ways to support them using social media and other locally-based activities.”
On the day, Shop SE19 put out hourly twitter shout-outs to showcase many businesses from all around Crystal Palace, including the weekly Crystal Palace Food Market, our local independent garden centre: The Secret Garden, and a whole host of high street shops and services.
Since 2018, the business community has worked together with ShopSE19 to create a series of late night shopping events and find other creative ways for 60+ independent businesses to collaborate and support Crystal Palace’s high street economy.
Small Business Saturday is an annual event in the UK, with funding from American Express, as part of their Shop Small campaign which champions small, independent high street businesses. The UK team behind Small Business Saturday offers outreach and support for small, independent businesses all year round.
Find out more at www.ShopSE19.com