This has been a tough year!  Economically it has probably been the worst year in a long time to start a business!!  We are all having to watch the pennies, uncertain about where the country is going and 2011 has been the year of the deal.

So, this blog is a bit of a plea really, on behalf of all the independent small businesses and retailers out there.  This Christmas please shop with independent businesses.  Most of the big guys have the resources to get through the downturns…but we little guys need your support when the going gets tough.  Independent businesses are important for the economy and provide unique, personal and individual products and services.  When you shop with an independent business you are supporting individuals and families rather than fat cats and shareholders.

Great Western Arcade is not just a wonderful venue, it also plays host to some of the best independent retailers in Birmingham.  Opposite the Spa is a beautiful shoe shop and next door to that a fabulous gift shop.  There is a jewellery shop selling gorgeous gifts to suit all pockets, and a classic sweet shop which almost guarantees to have “that sweet you used to love when you were a kid but can’t remember the name of and haven’t seen for years”!  There is a superb deli – Anderson & Hill – which has local and regional produce as well as more global offerings, and which provides us with fabulous party platters; a specialist bread shop; a newly opened whisky outlet, and a handmade chocolate shop…to name but a few.

But we all need your custom to keep going.  It would be a very boring world if there were only the “big guys” left!

So, this Christmas, seek out the independent shops and splash your cash there.  Give unique, personal and individual gifts.  Thanks.