"Unless you buy from us, we don't survive" warns independent business owner

The founder of a social enterprise which supports micro craft and design businesses is urging consumers to support independent retailers as part of a national campaign.

Dawn Wood, founder of Fabrication Crafts (right) with Jennifer Duenas and Piers Edsall.

Dawn Wood, founder of Fabrication Crafts, which has shops in Leeds and York city centres, said businesses like hers could only survive if people started shopping again.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, she said: “It’s a strange dichotomy really because you don’t want people to come en mass to the city centre because it (the virus) has not gone away. But there’s the capitalist edge which is a juxtaposition to health.

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“But the simple fact of the matter is that unless you buy from us then we don’t survive. We can only pay the rent by people shopping.”

Today (July 4) marks Independents Day, a national campaign to encourage spending with independent retailers all year round.

Independents make up around 65 per cent of retail outlets across the UK and many have been hit hard by the impact of COVID-19.

During lockdown, Ms Wood set up an online shop and a click and collect service, which has been popular, but she admitted there were times when she didn’t know if the Fabrication Crafts shops would reopen. “There were many sleepless nights just juggling,”.

Kate Hardcastle MBE, founder of Yorkshire retail consultancy Insight with Passion, said the smallest things can help independent businesses.

“Certainly, spending with them is the most helpful, but sharing their social media posts and leaving positive reviews and recommendations can all prove vital in helping them survive,” she said.

Support is available for independent businesses in Leeds, via the Leeds MicroBusiness Support Service - a free service supported by Leeds City Council, which offers mentoring, workshops and business advice to microbusinesses across a range of sectors.