Thursday 12 December 2013

Let's Make This Christmas Small Business Christmas

Manjit Rana of the Tipsy Toad, Hammersmith Grove.
Where would our neighbourhood be without
independent shops such as this?
Last Saturday was Small Business Saturday. It’s a great initiative but with the Centre for Retail Research reporting that 22% of Britain’s current independent retailers will disappear by 2018 we should try and make this Christmas, Small Business Christmas.
Take, for example, the wonderful Tipsy Toad on Hammersmith Grove. Manjit Rana has stocked up. The store is packed with fine wines, organic luxury Christmas cakes, artisan breads and some of the most delicious chocolates you’ll ever eat. And, as it’s Christmas, I advise trying their locally distilled Sipsmith’s gin and vodka. As well as offering an excellent choice of organic, gluten free and everyday groceries, Manjit’s many kindnesses has put the Tipsy Toad at the centre of the Hammersmith Grove neighbourhood. It is a local institution - you can even buy your Christmas tree there from this Saturday.
Stocked up for Christmas
But each time small businesses like the Tipsy Toad stock up in this way they take a risk. Cash flow is vital for small businesses and getting it wrong can be fatal.
This shop, which I wrote about in 2007, has since disappeared. But our neighbourhood still benefits from great independent stores such as SISI (which is the best DIY store I know), the amazing Stenton’s Butchers, the lovely Brackenbury’s Deli, Bertotti’s Gelato Café and the many others who exemplify why small retailers are so important.
Ben Coleman with Alan De'Ath, Sharon Holder
and local residents in Fulham Broadway
Last month I asked Ben Coleman to be H&F Labour’s small business champion. Ben has worked on small business policy since the mid-1990s and is currently a key member of Labour’s national small business task force.
Consider that the government's own report, Understanding High Street Performance, shows that in "2000 49.4% of retail spending took place on the High Street" and predicts this is likely to fall to just "39.8 in 2014".

There are measures that can be taken locally. Ben Coleman will be considering how to reduce council red tape, lower business costs, encourage start-ups and make it easier for small firms to compete. Part of Ben’s work will involve consulting local businesses and residents. So what would you like to see as local small business policy in H&F Labour’s manifesto? Please email me here if you have an idea or want to contribute to the discussion at a manifesto meeting.
Meanwhile, you can contact the small independent, neighbourhood shops mentioned in this report here:
Tipsy Toad, 91 Hammersmith Grove, Hammersmith. Phone 020 8741 9358
SISI DIY and Hardware, 139 Brackenbury Road, Hammersmith W6 0BQ. Phone 020 8741 5463
Stenton's Butchers, 55 Aldensley Road, Hammersmith W6 9PL. Phone 020 8748 6121
Brackenbury's Delicatessen, 22 Aldensley Road, Hammermith W6 0DH. Phone 020 8748 7388
Bertotti Gelato Café, 87 Hammersmith Grove, Hammersmith, W6 0NQ. Phone 020 8616 7973
Happy Christmas and I hope you have some very happy Christmas shopping.

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