Fiona Bruce MP for Congleton Constituency criss-crossed her constituency in support of independent traders on Small Business Saturday (December 5th).
Meeting first Middlewich Post Master Adnan Ashraf, she thanked him for his hardwork, relocating and smartening up the Post Office as he has done, to his newsagent at the heart of Wheelock Street.
Buying her constituency office diary for 2021 from Adnan, Fiona said “My regular newspaper order is through Middlewich News and Post Office and Adnan always provides a reliable, efficient service – with a beaming smile.”
Popping next door to Devaney’s Butchers Fiona put in her meat order for collection later in the day.
In Sandbach Fiona visited the quality fruit and veg stall outside the Market Hall, and The Cheese Shop and Graham Bradford of Hightown Quality Menswear in the Indoor Market – which she was pleased to hear will be open several extra days in the run up to Christmas.
Fiona said “It was great to see Sandbach so busy and to call in again to get some of the delicious cheeses from The Cheese Shop where proprietor Richard Green, who has had the store for 13 years, told me of how important it is for him to purchase from local suppliers such as Pace’s Eggs and of how the pandemic has stimulated his business to go online on Facebook – organised by his daughter Beth, who also does their new free home deliveries to several local towns.”
In Alsager, Fiona paid a visit to Hall’s Farm Shop saying “At Hall’s Farm Shop it was great to see people queuing - socially distanced! – for the tills and the great array of Christmas goodies in the shop. I was particularly impressed to see that customers can create their own hampers and equally pleased that not all of the excellent fruit pies had sold out – Hall’s Farm Shop sell some of the best fruit pies I’ve ever tasted!”
Back to Middlewich and collecting her meat order from Aidan Devaney, he said to Fiona “It has been a quiet period, but local traders like myself have tried to stay open and the community have supported us. It has been good to be able to serve local people in Middlewich, including through our delivery service for those who are vulnerable or shielding.”
Commenting further Aidan noted, “Small Business Saturday is a great initiative that recognises the importance of the high street. This is a unique time for small, independent retailers and I am confident of a resurgence in the high street – people are investing in Middlewich, even in these dark times.”
Fiona’s final visit of the day was to Holmes Chapel where amongst others she spoke with Barbara Kendall at Holmes Chapel Flowers.
Fiona said “it was good to see Barbara’s shop full of individually handmade Christmas floral decorations for people to buy – evident of her 13 years of working as an independent florist in Holmes Chapel – and for many more years elsewhere before that. It was also good to hear she is continuing to get a good number of online orders.”
On the eve of Small Business Saturday Fiona visited Weavercrafts of Congleton, where she chatted with Bob Weaver and his wife Janet, saying “Over time I have had many pictures and other items expertly framed by Bob Weaver – including a set of sixteen pipes belonging to my husband’s late father – the first time Bob had ever been asked to frame pipes! – and it was good at this time of year to be able to call in to buy some of their individually sewn crafts such as pretty fabric coloured notebooks for Christmas presents.”
Fiona concluded “It was great to see so many of the hardworking, independent traders across my constituency on Small Business Saturday – they are always ready to serve with a smile and a chat – and it is amazing how many of them have two – or even three! – generations working in them. Long may that last. So I hope everyone will support them, not only on Small Business Saturday each year, but all year round.
“Small Business Saturday, which has now been running for eight years, is an ideal opportunity for everyone to support local independent businesses who have faced an incredibly difficult year. This year more than ever small businesses need and deserve our support.”