It isn’t just the Harrogate Advertiser putting the spotlight on small, independent shops and businesses in the run-up to Christmas in our Love Your High Street campaign, so has MP Andrew Jones.
And the Harrogate and Knaresborough MP has joined this newspaper's campaign to support independent retailers and cafes .
In the build-up to Christmas, the Harrogate Advertiser, along with sister titles in JPIMedia across the country, has been campaigning to champion our town’s shops and small businesses, and encouraging readers to shop locally with our Love Your High Street campaign.
Following the launch, the campaign received the backing of the Chair of Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District), local businesses and the Liberal Democrats’ prospective parliamentary candidate for the district.
Now Mr Jones, says it’s crucial everyone shows their support for Love Your High Street by buying locally.
The MP made the announcement after making a tour of local independent businesses as part of Small Business Saturday.
In his view, Love Your High Street is a vital part of the mix in maintaining the success of town centre’s businesses and the town’s high street.
He said: “Our small businesses do feel themselves to be part of the wider community. That is why campaigns such as the Harrogate Advertiser’s Love Your High Street initiative are so important, as is Small Business Saturday.”
Andrew Jones’s weekend tour saw him visit independent businesses across Harrogate and Knaresborough.
Sue Kramer runs Crown Jewellers on Harrogate’s bustling Commercial Street.
She also runs the street’s 4155-strong Twitter feed promoting the wide-variety of independent shops in the area.
Talking to the MP, the business owner said: “In Harrogate businesses like ours give the town its distinctive ambience and are a magnet for local people and visitors from further afield.
“From speciality cheese to brilliant coffee, stunning food to brilliant electrical goods, antique books to top-quality jewellery, Commercial Street is a prime example of the importance of small businesses.”
Mr Jones’s next stop was at Art in the Mill, an original, contemporary and independent art gallery set in the picturesque Green Dragon Yard off Knaresborough’s well-known Market Place.
Run by Knaresborough couple Andy and Elaine Grinter, Art in the Mill has a reputation for promoting local artists in the converted flax mill which it calls home.
Andy told Mr Jones: “We have been in business here for 11 years and feel very much part of a community of small businesses in the town. As a small independent we recognise that we can help local up-and-coming artists and this is a key part of our ethos.
“It is a privilege to be associated with some of our region’s finest art and to help people realise their individual creativity.”
From Knaresborough to a rural small business where Mr Jones met Andrew Mearns, owner of Gmund Cars.
The business is a labour of love for Andrew who has built the business up from scratch.
His efforts impressed Mr Jones who was shown the stages of the restoration process for classic vehicles and learnt about the sales end of the business, too.
Andrew Mearns said: “Sometime people don’t realise that our rural areas contain a great many successful small businesses.
“I founded and grew Gmund cars at our showroom and workshop in Scotton making my passion for classic vehicles in to a thriving business employing eight people.”