WITH just three shopping days left until Christmas, shoppers are being encouraged to make a conscious effort to support the local economy.
There has been a noticeable increase in footfall in the town over the weekend as shoppers hit the streets in a bid to get get their last minute Christmas gifts and supplies. The town's retail parks were also busy.
Trade has been boosted by the roll-out of the Spend Local card, with the deadline to spend now passed.
As the countdown to the bg day continues, the message to the community is clear: Shop local and continue to support local businesses in this time of great need.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, has been urging the public to shop local this Christmas as part of his whistle-stop tour of businesses and shops throughout the district.
This past eighteen months have been an extremely challenging time for local businesses, and the Mayor said council is keen to inspire confidence among the public by encouraging them to shop local.
Council has been working closely with the business community throughout the pandemic, delivering a range of support from bespoke advice to essential grant aid.
“Local businesses have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. Now during the busiest shopping period of the year, it’s vitally important that we support these local traders as much as possible," Alderman Warke said.
"These independently owned businesses are what makes our city and district unique and I was delighted to see the products and wares they have on offer, particularly for Christmas gifts.
"I would encourage the public, as much as possible, to spend local this year.”
Business development officer with council, Tara Nicholas, accompanied the Mayor.
She said: "Mayor Warke has heard first-hand from traders about the difficulties they have been facing throughout the pandemic.
"They have also shared with the us the sense of ‘community spirit and support’ they have been receiving from their customers.
“We have a great opportunity to help our home-grown, independent businesses here flourish.
"Deciding to shop local really makes a huge difference to our local traders and we shouldn’t underestimate how impactful even our small spends can be.
"Our independent stores and shops employ so many local staff and by supporting them, we are making a great choice in terms of supporting ourselves.”
Reiterating that message, West Tyrone MLA., Daniel McCrossan, said the Spend Local scheme has been greatly beneficial to local businesses.
"The Spend Local Scheme has been hugely successful to our local businesses and it has given them a major much needed boost given the impact the pandemic has had over the past 20 months," he said.
“I have spoken to a number of businesses who have told me that the scheme has worked really well and that they were generally pleased with it.
"Many businesses also ran promotions such as allowing 20 per cent on using the card while others offered entry into draws.
“Overall it’s been hugely successful for businesses."
Mr McCrossan said that while there have been issues with some people getting their cards, he had been given assurances that the last of those had been sent out.