Supporting Chesterfield retailers is vital for our local economy
After many long weeks of lockdown we are at last starting to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. We are also discovering what may be the ‘new normal’.
Social distancing is becoming a way of life, and for a friendly town like Chesterfield, this is something people can’t find easy or natural. However, I feel positive about the prospects for the town’s economic recovery following a recent report compiled by the Local Data Company.
According to the report, Chesterfield is one of the UK’s most resilient town centres in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that we could recover more quickly from lockdown than other towns and cities.
Our resilience is attributed to the fact that we have a high percentage of essential retail which has still been able to trade during the pandemic, including market stall holders such as Ibbotson’s, and Market Hall traders like Cheese Factor and Elliot RB & Son. This has helped maintain the strength of the local economy.
Having an open air market has also put us in good stead for the re-opening of the town as it can be easily reconfigured to allow for social distancing. As it did more than 800 years ago, Chesterfield’s open air market is once again breathing life into the town centre.
While much of our shopping has had to be done online during the lockdown period, it has made many of us realise the importance of the social aspect of shopping, and the ability to ‘shop local’. We miss the opportunity to bump into friends and acquaintances and enjoy the sights and sounds of the town centre while out shopping.
During lockdown we have truly witnessed Chesterfield become a ghost town through no fault of our own. We should treat this experience as a warning, just like Charles Dickens’ the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. With an empty town centre during lockdown, people have had a real chance to see what may happen if they choose not to shop local, and to make use of the facilities which are available.
Local businesses have been a lifeline to many people during the lockdown period. As the town’s market and shops re-open as we ease out of lockdown, keep in mind the importance of these businesses – they offer a shopping experience that you just can’t get online. Make shopping local part of your new normal.