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Warnock And Other Festive Shoppers Spoilt For Choice As 1,000 Firms Sign Up to Buy Local

More than 1,000 independent businesses are now promoting their goods through Buy Local Tees Valley, leaving local shoppers, including Boro boss Neil Warnock, spoilt for choice this festive season.

Whether it’s a little black dress from Darlington, hampers from Hartlepool, mince pies from Middlesbrough, retro sweets from Redcar & Cleveland or even stocking fillers from Stockton, the revamped virtual Christmas shop window has it all.

Amongst the businesses signed up and benefiting from the new Christmas Buy Local Tees Valley is Rejoy Beauty in Darlington. Owner Erin Joy Harper, who received £3,200 in Tees Valley Business support funding, is using the service to sell her luxury handmade wall-hanging calendars, one of which has been bought by Middlesbrough FC manager Neil Warnock.

As a thank you for the support, Erin is now running a competition with Buy Local Tees Valley to give one lucky Christmas shopper the chance to win one of her 25 Reasons calendars. To enter, simply nominate someone you think is deserving of a calendar this Christmas in no more than 25 words by visiting buylocal.teesvalley-ca.gov.uk/competition

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen is urging people in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to shop local and shop at independent businesses more than ever this Christmas. Before the region was placed into the government’s Tier 3 Very High Alert restrictions, Mayor Houchen unveiled a new version of the Buy Local Tees Valley website to ensure local people knew that they could still get hold of goods and services from local traders.

With local high street shops now allowed to open the Mayor is calling on people, where possible, to keep shopping with small independent businesses. Should people feel safer and more comfortable at home, they can take advantage of more than 1,000 businesses who have diversified their offerings because of Covid-19 and are now available to shop from online through the Buy Local website.

The website has seen almost 13,000 visitors to the site recently and online orders for both doorstep delivery and click and collect services are rocketing.

Erin said: “As a small business owner, I experienced a devastating year first-hand. Instead of giving up, I developed a way to show support to other small businesses while reminding our clients to look after themselves, too. Community and small business are at the heart of this project, to not only create a unique and luxury gift that would make people smile, but also give other small businesses like me a lifeline and purpose in the hardest year of our careers. By coming together, we’ve been overwhelmed by the backing and awareness we’ve generated, including the Manager of Middlesbrough Football club supporting our project. We couldn’t be more grateful.”

Mayor Houchen said: “Buying from our small, local independent shops is as important as ever whether that is being physically on the high street or from the comfort of your own home. Spending locally and keeping the money in the pockets of our local traders keeps money in our area for their families to further spend in our region, which is critical at this time.

“Now that we are heading into the Christmas shopping season services like Buy Local are making a huge difference in not only giving businesses an opportunity to  showcase their new or existing online offerings, but also providing a one-stop shop for thousands of Christmas shoppers to visit, knowing that whatever they buy, they are supporting a local business.

“The online Christmas shop-window is going from strength-to-strength and I’m delighted to see people in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are maximising its use. With 1,000 businesses signed up and over 13,000 visitors to the site, it’s a huge success. If you haven’t got your business on there yet, I urge you to as soon as possible.

“It’s also fantastic to be able to team up with Erin at Rejoy and give someone in our region a deserving early Christmas present – one of her brilliant calendars. If Neil Warnock loves them, what’s not to like!? I’m sure there’s countless people in our region deserving of one, so visit our Buy Local website and get nominating.”

Mayor Houchen and the Combined Authority established Buy Local Tees Valley in April during the first coronavirus lockdown to help support local companies by connecting firms that are still open but may have been operating differently with local shoppers who wanted to support local independent businesses.

The new Christmas area has the opportunity for businesses to link directly to their websites, Instagram shopping, Etsy, Facebook or any other e-commerce platforms, display new imagery and ultimately promote any click-and-collect or delivery services their business offers.

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