A group of town centre businesses played pivotal part in getting Scots shoppers to think local first this Christmas – after Santa Claus enjoyed a tour of stores.
Town centre traders in Melrose, in the Scottish Borders, are promoting the need for people to support businesses in their community this festive season even more than any other as they battle to overcome problems faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They star in the latest social media drive for Scotland Loves Local, the high-profile campaign to fuel the nation’s economic recovery from its grassroots.
It comes after Santa toured shops throughout Melrose to highlight the great gifts and perfect produce that shoppers can bag for Christmas.
He bought mince pies in Alex Dalgetty & Sons Bakers, ordered a turkey in Martin Baird Butchers, sampled fruit and veg from WA Williamson greengrocers, saw the bikes on offer in Hardies Bikes, stocked up on decorations in the Spar and bagged a candle in Love Scottish.
Dressed patriotically in Saltire colours, he also bought a trolley-load of festive essentials from the Co-op – and even took time out to get a haircut in Wilson’s Hair.
He was joined on his journey by local photographer Lloyd Smith, who was working with Melrose-based branding expert Giles Etherington, of Brand Satellite, as part of his work on the multi-media creative for Scotland Loves Local.
Giles, who is also a board member of the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s great to have businesses from Melrose at the forefront of such an important national campaign.
“As a town we have a fantastic array of local shops, restaurants and attractions boasting fabulous festive gift offers.
“Our local businesses have been there for us like never before during 2020. It’s so important this festive season that we repay their dedication by being there for them.”
Images from Santa’s tour are being used across social media, in national newspaper advertising, as well as in print and online news.
That starring role comes amid increasing support in the region for local businesses.
Polling commissioned by Scotland Loves Local in the South Scotland Scottish Parliamentary electoral region has found that 53% of people agree it’s important they do as much Christmas shopping as they can from their local high street, either in store or online, rather than going further afield.
Two-thirds (66%) of those questioned said they would go into stores on their local high street to do some Christmas shopping, while 64% said they would do some Christmas shopping from stores on their local high street online where able to do so.
Phil Prentice is chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the organisation leading the Scotland Loves Local campaign with the support of the Scottish Government.
He said: “We’re delighted to have the great array of local businesses in Melrose featuring so prominently as we encourage Scotland to love a local Christmas.
“The best Christmas present we can give our local businesses is for people to shop as close to home as they can, supporting those around them, whether in person or online.”
Shopping locally is also being highlighted as the safest thing that shoppers can do, reducing travel.
The Scotland Loves Local campaign supports the Government’s call for people to make sure they shop safely, show kindness to shop workers, protect others and follow the FACTS guidance.
Follow #ScotlandLovesLocal on social media.