#ShopStamford launches Christmas campaign to boost town traders
#ShopStamford supporters gathered today to promote their Christmas campaign to encourage people to shop locally this festive season.
Dozens of traders gathered by the Christmas tree in Red Lion Square amid damp weather hoping shoppers will heed their message.
Among the traders were Sandy Thompson of the Stamford Music Shop in St Mary's Hill who says shopping in local stores is better than buying online because you can touch and feel the products, maybe try them out and you can talk to staff for expert advice.
Sandy added: "Buying locally also keeps the local economy going."
Craig Benson, owner of the Black Orchid 'frock shop' on St Mary's Street says his business has been in town for 33 years as the first independent frock shop in Stamford.
Craig said: "We offer service and passion and unusual clothes you can't find in other shops."
Robert Loomes of Stamford watchmaker Loomes and Co on St Mary's Hill says he always does his Christmas shopping in Stamford.
Robert said: "It's very convenient, you get brilliant service and I can do it in a short period of time.
"Stamford has a fantastic array of gifts and presents available at its independent and quirky shops.
He added "Our shops make the town, otherwise Stamford would be a dead living space. If people aren't out enjoying the town centre, it will just wither away."
Sophie Joy of pan-Asian restaurant Hoppi Dorri in All Saint's Place, which opened this year, says Stamford is lucky to have such a fantastic variety of independent shops and restaurants.
Heading off to the larger towns and cities, she said, takes time and also costs money in petrol, parking or rail and bus fares.
Sophie added: "Instead people can shop local and support their local businesses and treat themselves to a good meal with the money saved."
Ross Dykes, operations manager of Knead Pubs, agreed and called it great Stamford has so many different businesses and that they are working hard together to support the town.
He said: "It's so nice they offer such a varied range for people to buy gifts for the family and loved ones."
#ShopStamford will be staging Late Night Trading on Thursday, December 12 - General Election day.
Matt Wheatley of Stamford-based JHH Media, who is producing a campaign video for Shop Stamford, said the campaign is attracting great support from local traders. This follows on from a recent guide of the town's stores.
Matt has been giving them training in social media, which has led to an upsurge in its use, to help increase sales.
The video will be launched on December 1 and will "highlight and generate businesses who trade in Stamford".
Sarah Sewell from Energy Clothing in Ironmonger Street is campaign organiser for #ShopStamford. She said she was very proud the campaign has attracted the support of so many traders, who are keen to display their membership in their shop windows.
"It is bringing the community together," she continued.
Sarah added that having late night shopping on the same day as the General Election will not harm the trading. "People will vote as they shop."
Andrew Norman, head of visitor economy of InvestSK, the economic regeneration company owned by South Kesteven District Council, also attended the launch.
Andrew told the Mercury it was 'exemplary' what #ShopStamford has achieved in the year since it was formed.
"Stamford has a fantastic range of independent traders who are embracing the future. If they don't do this, there is no future."
He added: "If you don't support your shops, they will go. Use it or lose it!"