The virtual tills will be busy ringing tomorrow as millions of people kickstart their Christmas shopping in earnest on Black Friday.
But after a year which has been one of the hardest on record for small businesses, facing the twin challenges of coronavirus and lockdowns, the need to shop local has never been more important.
That’s why KCOM launched its first ever Christmas Market for local traders earlier this month and is urging shoppers to buy local this Black Friday.
Dale Raneberg, KCOM’s chief executive officer, said: “Everyone likes bagging a good deal on Black Friday but this year, rather than buying everything from one of the internet giants, it’s a great idea to support the local businesses on our doorsteps which are an essential part of our local communities and economy.
“That’s why we launched the KCOM Christmas Market, to put all our fantastic local businesses in the shop window to showcase the fantastic wares they have and which you won’t find at the big online companies.
“Shopping at our Christmas Market this Black Friday, you’ll not only find some unique gift ideas but you’ll also be supporting local business and helping our region through what has been a very challenging year for many.”
The KCOM Christmas Market welcomed nearly 8,000 customers through its virtual doors in its first week and now features more than 170 independent traders all selling unique, locally-sourced wares.
The market includes something for every festive gift hunter from award-winning ales and craft gins to bespoke homeware, handmade crafts, locally-crafted jewellery, fine art, food and fashion.
Claire Reading, development manager of the Federation of Small Businesses, East Yorkshire and Humber, welcomed the call to shop local on Black Friday, calling the market “a great local campaign and great for our small businesses”.
She said: “It’s great to see KCOM supporting our local small businesses. The Christmas Market is an innovative way to keep our smaller independents in mind and promoting small businesses at a time when it is really needed.
“Local deliveries, online, and click and collect are still available from many small businesses and even without a website, they can offer personal shopping just not in person due to restrictions.
“We are grateful for those that have held back their Christmas shopping until this moment to support their local shops which means that, for the small business sector, Christmas shopping can finally begin.”
Among the stallholders ready to take your Christmas orders online are Nordic Rosie children’s nursery gifts, Cocoa and White Rabbit chocolatiers, Avy’s Harris tweed handbags, The Timber Wolves wood crafted gift company, Soap From The Heart, Lulu’s Aromas and Sticks On The Beach handcrafted walking sticks.
And for those who like a Yuletide tipple there’s plenty to wet your whistle at the market including East Yorkshire’s Atom, Bone Machine, Brew Hull, Wold Top and Raven Hill breweries; plus Mill House, Hotham’s and King Billy gin distilleries, The Prosecco Cube Company and Wheatley’s Meadery – the only makers of mead in East Yorkshire.
As well as Black Friday deals the market also features a trader of the day and has special offers all week long.
To see what’s on offer the KCOM Christmas Market visit www.bettersourcedlocally.co.uk
[Ian Midgley – KCOM]