A clothing store boss is backing a campaign urging shoppers to support independent shops as part of a campaign to celebrate the contribution of small businesses as he marks 37 years at Stretford Mall.
Yusuf Patel and fellow shopkeepers at Stretford Mall are calling on local people to visit the shopping centre and see the wide range of goods and services they have to offer, as the UK marks Small Business Saturday on December 1.
He has run Sofi’s clothing store with wife Sufina who the hop is named after, at Stretford Mall for 37 years and is among the longest standing independent retailers at the shopping centre.
The store is marking a successful year in business since expanding from a unit in the former market hall to a new shop unit inside the main Mall, last summer.
Supporting the Small Business Saturday campaign he said: “Small businesses are a big part of the community. We have regular customers and we are only here still because we support them by getting what they require.
“We really need local stores so it’s important people come down to the mall and support us.
“If we don’t support small businesses they will go and people will not have the choice. At the mall it is really secure and we have good parking. I have been here for 37 years and it gets harder, but I will be here for a few years yet.”
Nigel Young, who runs Reel Around The Fountain Records, also moved to a bigger unit at Stretford Mall last year, and has a loyal clientele to his record shop named after Manchester band The Smiths, on the balcony at Stretford Mall.
Nigel believes Small Business Saturday 2018 is an ideal opportunity to showcase the wide variety of independent stores that the mall has to offer.
He said: “Anything that increases awareness and footfall is vital. There is choice here at Stretford Mall, a mix of independent and mainstream retailers, and it’s important people support their local businesses.
“I’ve been here three and a half years and it’s about building up your customer base, having a smile on your face and having a bit of banter.
“My customers have become mates. You sometimes don’t get that kind of personable service with the larger chains.”
Now in its fifth year and taking place on December 1, Small Business Saturday is a grassroots initiative which champions small firms and urges consumers to ‘shop local’.
Last year’s Small Business Saturday event saw an estimated £748 million spent on the day with more than 115,000 tweets being sent about the campaign, helping to reaching more than 115 million people.
Stretford Mall centre manager Gareth Wilkins said: “We’re delighted to show our support for Small Business Saturday and highlight the fantastic contribution our small businesses make not only to the mall but also the local community.
“Some of our independent traders have been here for decades and have played a significant role in the success of the centre over the years.
“I hope people will come out in support of our small businesses on December 1 and see the huge variety of goods and services they have to offer.
“With it being the run up to Christmas it’s the perfect time to come down and pay them a visit, but it’s not just about championing our independent retailers on one day, hopefully it will encourage people to show their support all year round.”
Stretford Mall’s independent traders also paid tribute to the loyal customers who have continued to support them, particularly after some relcoated after the closure of the former market building.
Chien Van Nguyen, who runs Hollywood Nails, said: “It’s very important to celebrate the small businesses and what we bring. We get a lot of support from the public and still have regular customers. We are very happy in our new unit at Stretford Mall.”
Jermaine Stewart, owner of Future Cuts, added: “I get lots of support from the community. I’ve been here five years and we’ve grown in that time.
“I moved into a bigger unit three years ago and it’s been really helpful. I think it’s good to celebrate what small businesses offer. We have a lot to offer here at Stretford Mall.”