By Andrew McRae, (FSB Scotland Policy Chair) - 2020 has been a year like no other, coronavirus has turned life as we know it on its head. This has been true for everyone including for small business owners and entrepreneurs across the country who were forced into new ways of working and, for many, a prolonged state of hibernation.

As things have slowly started to creep back to some degree of normality the Scotland Loves Local campaign has been a timely reminder to get out there and back into our communities. FSB has long supported the drive to shop local and are pleased to be partners in this initiative. There are so many fantastic independent businesses that populate Scotland’s high streets and town centres it is great to see them being highlighted throughout this new campaign.

Last year we published our #FSBmyTown campaign and report that looked at new and innovative ways we could ensure the sustainability of our local high streets. Many of the ideas from the research such as delivering smart solutions for empty units and providing targeted tech help for high street retailers are even more relevant now in the wake of the forced economic shutdown.

If we want to continue to experience the great and unique products and services that our local businesses provide then now is the time that we need to get out there, show them some love, and support them in any way we can. Thriving high streets and town centres provide us with a unique experience and are key to our communities. Shopping local will ensure that we retain that special experience we get visiting independents that cannot be recreated elsewhere.

As a business owner myself, with shops and a café based in Edinburgh, I know how strange a year this has been for small business owners. In the past month, it has been a huge relief to re-open our doors and welcome customers back into our premises, all be it in a slightly different manner than before. It has been heartening to see other businesses in our neighbourhood open up as well. However, in order to maintain theses businesses in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland, getting out there and supporting them and Scotland Loves Local will be absolutely key.

Andrew McRae is Policy Chair at FSB Scotland

Source: Scotland Loves Local

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