Last month, Shop Hartlepool passed a major milestone! More than 200 Hartlepool-based businesses have signed up to the Shop Hartlepool platform, since the site launched last June.
To celebrate, the Shop Hartlepool team took to the high street to meet some of the amazing local businesses on the platform. We visited five Shop Hartlepool businesses to find out their thoughts on being part of the Shop Hartlepool community.
Hartlepool Borough Council have been supporters of the Shop Hartlepool initiative from the outset. Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, Cllr Shane Moore explained why it is important for people to support local businesses. “At the end of the day the vast majority of these businesses are owned and operated by Hartlepool people and what we really want to do is increase that local spend to make sure that local people have extra money in their pockets, they’re able to reinvest in the local economy and eventually everybody will be much better for it.”
The High Street Task Force are an alliance of experts providing support to local leaders in town centres and high streets across the country. One of those experts, Graham Soult, said, “I think Shop Hartlepool is a great campaign. During COVID we’ve seen a real appetite for the whole shop local thing. That’s continuing and people are discovering that actually if they support their local businesses those are the businesses that feed things back into the community.
First Class Shoe Repairs
The tour began with First Class Shoe Repairs, Key Cutting & Engraving owner Billy Reid. Billy has been based in Middleton Grange for over 30 years and is a testament to the power of supporting local businesses. Most shoppers will recognise his little kiosk, tucked in the corner just off the main square.
Billy thinks Shop Hartlepool is important because as he said, “It’s getting the message out to the public of Hartlepool about what they have on their own doorstep and that’s the main thing that I like about it. Just giving them that little reminder that they maybe don’t need to go out of town to do basic shopping or even big shopping, we actually have a lot of things in Hartlepool.”
Mark Lloyd Jewellers
The team, then headed out of the shopping centre and over to Mark Lloyd Jewellers, a regular name on the Hartlepool high street for 22 years. Mark himself is Hartlepool born and bred and will happily chat to anyone that walks through the door, something made possible by the open plan layout of their workshop.
When asked about Shop Hartlepool Mark said, “It’s been brilliant, it’s just what people need to hear isn’t it. I think half the problem is people don’t know what’s in their own town.”
The Simple Weigh
Shop Hartlepool Christmas Window competition winners, The Simple Weigh were the next stop. If just walking into this beautiful store doesn’t make you want to buy something, then chatting to owner Lesley will. Lesley’s passion for the local products she sells, and the shop’s plastic-free, eco-friendly ethos, is clear, and the enjoyment of filling your own jars will take you back to the good old days.
Lesley told us, “Shop Hartlepool has been a fantastic forum for us to be able to showcase our products and highlight offers that we have going. The amount of people who’ve come into the shop here and said oh we didn’t know you were here, we’ve only found out about you by being on Shop Hartlepool or on Facebook, it’s been a really good forum for us to use.”
The tour finished up on York Road, with Plantopia and their new neighbours Got Mallow? Plantopia is an oasis of calm, where everything is green and lush and beautiful. Mother and daughter team, Linda and Emily are always on hand with helpful tips and advice to keep your houseplants thriving.
As one of the first businesses to register with Shop Hartlepool, Linda said, “It’s nice to be part of a team and everybody is promoting everybody. There’s lots of little companies that you don’t even know exist.”
The new kids on the block, right next door to Plantopia, are Got Mallow? A unique marshmallow dining experience, a must-do for any sweet lovers. All of their marshmallow is handmade on site, and after a sneaky taste test we can confirm these delicious treats are as light and fluffy as their cloud filled ceiling!
When asked how they had found business since opening their doors in January owner Owen said, “Saturdays are crazy busy, you know, crazy busy and we’ve had to add an extra table just to try and make sure we can add people in.”
The momentum is building at Shop Hartlepool as the trend to shop locally becomes more popular. More and more shoppers are looking to stay local and support the businesses in their hometowns, and Hartlepool is no exception. With such a great following we are looking forward to another amazing year supporting local businesses and encouraging shoppers to do the same.
Photo credit: First Class Shoes Repairs & The Simple Weigh images by Graham Soult.