Many people turned to local independent businesses during lockdown – the unsung high street heroes that maintained a sense of ordinary life, character, and individuality to the local community. Now, as lockdown restrictions ease, outlets up and down our high streets are hoping a sense of loyalty and changes in shopping habits will remain.
Research from Deloitte Digital[i] analysing the impact of the pandemic on customer experience identified three in five (59%) consumers used more local stores and services to help support them during the lockdown.
Also, 57% of consumers said they would be more likely to spend money with a business that offers locally produced products once the lockdown had lifted than they would have done before the stay-at-home order was imposed.
Shopping After Lockdown
Moving to post-lockdown, although consumers are spending cautiously, recent months have also motivated them to rethink who they spend their money with. According to research,[ii] more than half (58%) said lockdown has made them more aware of how challenging it is to run an independent business. Almost half the UK population – 32 million people – have vowed to support their local businesses since March.
Convenience, quality of produce and service are also reasons for changes in shopping habits during and post-lockdown. These benefits are the contributing factors that make the British high streets great places to shop, and ‒ thanks to the people and the personalities behind these small high street businesses ‒ put them at the heart of so many local communities.
Celebrating Our High Street Heroes
That is why SME Insurance Services (smei) set about finding the heroes that make our high streets unique, recognising the fantastic independent businesses helping to breathe new life into local high streets and communities. From the authentic Italian coffee shops, the professional yet fun hairdressers, the florists with flare, the list goes on.
Filmed on location in the heart of Lancashire before the lockdown, smei’s advert features a range of these inspiring businesses that are working passionatley to keep city, town and village centres’ alive and kicking, including:
Delliponti (Barrowford) – an authentic Italian coffee shop with a twist, which has become a firm favourite with locals thanks to its outstanding coffee, a vast selection of Italian pastries, and welcoming atmosphere. Owners, Claire and Matteo are in no doubt why the business stands out: “Italians take coffee and cake very seriously, it’s about quality not quantity, and that is what we’ve tried to replicate here by serving outstanding, authentic Italian coffee and cakes in a warm and friendly environment.” Read Claire and Matteo’s story here: www.smeinsurance.com/delliponti.
We can provide your business with café insurance; click here to find out more.
Kimora Fashion & Lifestyle (Barrowford) – a beautifully staged fashion and lifestyle store that is built on owner, Ruth Holden’s experience and hard work. She explained: “I work seven days a week and you have to have a real passion for it to do that. Otherwise, it would be a slog, just a job. But when you genuinely love what you are doing, you put in the time, the care. And you see the results.” To read Ruth’s story visit www.smeinsurance.com/kimora.
We can provide your business with clothes shop insurance; click here to find out more.
The White Swan at Fence (Fence) – a traditional village pub with a difference. The White Swan is one of only three establishments in Lancashire to hold a Michelin star, which is testament to Laura and Gareth’s focus on quality.
We can provide your business with pub insurance; click here to find out more.
Premier Barrowford Convenience Store (Padiham) – a one-stop mini-market keeping the people of Padiham stocked up with life’s essentials. This is a really welcoming, friendly store where the staff are on first name terms with many regular customers. To find out more visit www.smeinsurance.com/shop-retail-insurance/convenience-store-insurance/how-does-a-hard-working-family-business-put-convenience-at-the-heart-of-the-community/.
We can provide your business with convenience store insurance; click here to find out more.
Flourish (Manchester) – a high street florist with a difference. Its open store front on Tib Street in Manchester city centre bursts with colour and adds real interest to the high street. The sheer array of flowers and houseplants – from old favourites to more unusual options – draws a steady stream of loyal customers. The secret, according to owner Anthony Cox is disarmingly simple: “It’s pretty simple really. You have to do the 1% that no-one else is doing if want to stand out.” To read Anthony’s story visit www.smeinsurance.com/flourish.
We can provide your business with florist insurance; click here to find out more.
Rebecca & Co (Barrowford) – a busy, professional and fun hairdressers in the heart of Barrowford. Owner Rebecca Knott thinks that location is key: “We have quite the regular client base now, but we often get new ones from walk-ins. That’s another benefit of a high street location, but you still want to turn them into regulars, and most end up doing exactly that.” You can find out more about Rebecca & Co here www.smeinsurance.com/rebecca-co.
We can provide your business with hairdresser insurance; click here to find out more.
Chris Barclay, Sales Director of Excellence and Head of smei, commented: “We’re delighted to give these small businesses the recognition they deserve. It has been great to get to know the characters and hear the stories behind some of the nation’s independent businesses. There is so much talent and passion behind these unsung heroes of the UK’s high streets, which has made choosing these few businesses to feature in the video even more difficult.”
Retaining Lockdown Loyalty
Local shoppers were supporting high street resurgence before COVID-19. They increasingly value the sense of community that is a characteristic of the high street, more than they do the homogeneity of chain stores and out-of-town retail parks. Now more than ever, we need to support local businesses. So, as we enter a world of post-lockdown if you plan to go shopping, make you sure you support your local high street and independent shops, just as they have supported you through these difficult times.
You can view smei’s high street heroes’ film by clicking here.
Quotes from well-known and specialist insurers, including: