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Resilient Sawbridgeworth traders embrace Shop Local campaign and online market

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Sawbridgeworth businesses are aiming to bounce back from the disappointment of a second lockdown closure by driving ahead with online Christmas shopping sales.

And they are being helped by a new virtual Christmas market and a Shop Local campaign launched by the town council.

Laura Wallace set up the online market after hearing of a similar scheme in Bishop’s Stortford and to help out a friend, Lynne LeComber, who runs Crafty Creations. She told the Independent it had been an amazing success.

Laura Wallace (43252409)
Laura Wallace (43252409)

“It’s really important to shop local,” said Laura, who revealed she had 69 ‘stalls’ on the site and more than 1,000 members. Stalls include those selling jewellery, crafts, flowers and sweets.

Each stall costs £5, with the money going to Harlow Food Bank, and £345 has been raised so far.

“We’ve had an amazing response,” said Laura, who revealed one 'stallholder’ had been so busy they were donating 5% of their profits to the food bank.

Laura added: “Stallholders have got back to me and said they're doing really well with sales. One lady who makes baubles has now stopped taking orders because she's so busy. Another lady kindly sold 17 tickets for a raffle for one of her amazing cake biscuit boxes and all that money is going to the food bank.”

Town projects manager Joanne Sargant is pushing the ‘shop local’ message in Sawbridgeworth with a list on the town council’s website of grocery stores, cafés, restaurants and pubs that are offering takeaway and other services during lockdown.

Joanne praised businesses for their resilience. “Lockdown one was a complete shock to us all but must have been magnified for the business owners, who had no choice other than to close their doors and wait,” she said.

“As a town we pulled through amazingly – in fact, we had two new businesses open up during the first lockdown and they appear to have gone from strength to strength.

Joanne Sargant (43122915)
Joanne Sargant (43122915)

“The second blow of the current lockdown has seen many businesses diversify what they do and what they offer whilst sticking to the rules.

“Click and collect was a welcome addition to the restrictions and this has allowed many businesses – including hair and beauty salons – the opportunity to sell products.

“Our small town of local businesses has shown immense resilience, and for that we are proud and thank them wholeheartedly.”

Check out the Sawbridgeworth Virtual Christmas Market on Facebook.

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