Forres businesses backing shop local campaign
FORRES business owners are joining forces to back a campaign launched by the community council to encourage people to shop locally in the run up to the busy festive season.
The initiative comes in the same week as rumours circulate that the Mackenzie and Cruickshank building is about to be filled by a new business which would be a major boost for the floundering High Street.
Although Mackenzie and Cruickshank proprietor Peter Wilson refused to comment, stating that there was no sold sign on the building, Richard Higgins Commercial Investment and Agency Division of CKD Galbraith Properties confirmed there was interest in the building.
“There is serious interest in the Mackenzie Cruickshank building on Forres High Street which we are pursuing,” he said. “We are hopeful for a positive outcome and are very conscious of the sensitivity of the situation. It is a very important building for the town.”
The poster campaign by Forres Community Council also highlights a recurrent theme in the “My Forres My Gazette” column about the loss of business and lack of choice in the town centre, and have decided to act to try and bring more people into the town.
Shops on the High Street have now accepted posters from community councillor Colin Liscomb to show their support, many of which are already prominently displayed in their windows.
“Use it or lose it,” said Bob Hellyer from Jaycee’s’ computer shop who is also a local community councillor. “We need to make people aware that businesses can only survive here if they can pay their rent. They can’t pay their rent unless they make a small profit. We need the support of the Forres public to do that.”
“It’s nonsense that we have to shop out of town for everything and we’re lucky we still have shops here,” said Bob. “I feel sorry for shoppers in Elgin where they have to pay for parking in the town centre. It’s little wonder people there shop at the Springfield retail park where parking is free but no one walks from it to visit the High Street. The same thing is happening here.”
He said shops will only survive in Forres if customers spend locally. A vibrant town centre, where people can socialise as well as shop will only be only possible if money is spent locally and is circulated within the community.
Laura Hanson, owner of hand made gift shop ‘Babalu’, agrees that the campaign can only be a good thing for Forres.
“It’s nice to keep the money in the town,” she said. “The money spent at the big companies goes elsewhere. I’ll be doing my Christmas shopping in Forres with local crafts people so the money stays here rather than in the offshore bank account of some big business.”
Sue West of ‘Sue’s News’ has placed one of the signs on her door. “A campaign is definitely needed,” she said. “When my husband and I attended the fireworks at Grant Park he said that if everyone there came in to our shop just once a month then we would be making a fortune. I’ve been here for nine years and I still see faces around Forres that I’ve never seen shopping here.”
The poster campaign aims to enforce the fact that local shops create local employment and self-employment. These people in turn spend in the local economy.
For details of what more local businesses had to say see this week's Gazette.