Businesses in Falkirk are playing a prominent part in celebrating the magical impact of supporting local businesses across Scotland.
Members of Falkirk Delivers Business Improvement District are among those featuring as part of Scotland Loves Local – championing the critical need for people to get behind businesses in their community.
They are supporting a rallying cry for people to help secure thousands of jobs and millions of pounds-worth of spending across the country by simply choosing local.
Among those backing the drive are the wizardry-inspired Whimsic Alley and The Lonely Broomstick, sister shops on Falkirk High Street.
Between them, the businesses – owned by mother-and-son Doris and Leslie Lenaghen – are supplied with products from 700 other small businesses.
“We’re quirky and offer something different, which is important for a business,” says Leslie, manager and ‘house elf’ at The Lonely Broomstick, which boasts a potion room among its attractions. “Some people are just overwhelmed when they come in.
Eye-catching Whimsic Alley features a model tree and bench as its centrepiece, with model hot-air balloons ‘flying’ around it.
Doris, pictured above, said: “The support of local people is important. Without it, the High Street would be dead. We need people to support businesses more – and come back time and again.
“It’s not just about shopping. It’s about people coming into the town centre to socialise too, supporting all sorts of businesses. If everyone spent just £5 more with local businesses every week it would make a huge difference.”
As part of the latest wave of Scotland Loves Local promotional activity, members of Falkirk Delivers will feature in a social media campaign and in materials encouraging other businesses to back the call to action.
Donna Liddell has worked at designer children’s clothing boutique Jolly Tots, on Bank Street, for 33 years – the last 25 years as its owner – and now works alongside her daughter Siobhan Gardner.
On the need for people to get behind local businesses, she said: “It really is a case of use them or lose them. We have all got to shop locally to keep local businesses alive. We’re lucky to have strong support in the community.
“It’s been a tough few years – first with covid and then with the cost of living. But, like all other local businesses, we just try to get on with it and do the best we can. I know the majority of our customers and we do our best for them. Many of those who first came in as children are now coming back with children of their own.
“I’m lucky that I just love my job. I love seeing everybody coming in – and coming back.”
Further along Bank Street, Lesley Urquhart, proprietor of children’s shoe shop Clever Clogs, added: “Buying shoes for children isn’t really a thing you can do online. We get to know our customers and their children. Like other local businesses, we provide the sort of experience you can’t get with an online giant.”
Baker Eddie Marshall, who has owned and run Marshall’s Family Bakery on Manor Street for 12 years, is another who features.
He said: “The service you get from a local business cannot be matched. We get to know local people. They get to know us. We’re part of each other’s lives, which is nice. They know they’re getting quality.
“Many people changed their shopping habits during coronavirus to support more local businesses, which was great for us. But we need that to continue – and for even more people to do it.”
Falkirk Delivers work to enhance the experience for shoppers and visitors to the town, working to boost businesses with various activities, including markets and other events.
BID manager Elaine Grant said: “We cannot underestimate the importance of people choosing local – and we’re blessed with so many brilliant businesses in Falkirk.
“By getting behind our local businesses, people are not only securing their survival and the jobs of friends, family and neighbours but they keep the town vibrant, giving everyone the confidence to invest and make it an even better place in which to live, work and visit.
“Please, think local first and help build a better future for our community.”
Scotland Loves Local is spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership – the organisation which champions the nation’s towns and places – with support from the Scottish Government.