It may come as a surprise to some people but we do have a pretty good shopping range in the Town. There may be some concerns about the increasing number of charity shops occupying otherwise vacant properties as a sign of a declining High Street but the shops themselves are well run and a great place to buy books.
No wonder the local traders get frustrated when they hear people say there is no choice and the prices are expensive. The challenge to us all should be to buy locally…if we can. The slogan suggested by local traders was “Try Ashbourne First”. How many towns of the size of Ashbourne have a charming department store like Bennett’s, an excellent hardware store like David Neill, high end fashion such as Young Ideas and SAKS, dedicated shoe shops with Wigleys and Stepping Stones, Pet’s Pad, manufacturing jewellers? In addition, Ashbourne has been a Fairtrade town since 2005 with retailers such as Pachacuti and Equatorial. We have an excellent balance of the tourist focus and everyday shopping. Yes, I do use Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Sainsbury but I prefer to look on the positive side of them being in the town – its a sign of the retail life in Ashbourne still showing a strong pulse.
And then there are the markets on Thursday and Saturday – I think I don’t need to say more about them and why they are an important part of our lifestyle and heritage (see my other posts for details) but in addition we have a thriving antiques trade which occasionally puts on its own events – taking over the streets for a day. The Christmas market during Christmas shopping evening is a wonderful part of the lead in to Christmas itself. We have odd stalls outside the Town Hall and the Farmers Markets in the Green Man yard.
Finally, a good number of Ashbourne’s retailers are developing their online business alongside the high street outlet. We have some great websites showcasing local products and people. there are also an increasing number of businesses which still generate local income but only through an online presence. This online market is really important… a chance to bring income into the town from far afield and to punch above our weight in the economy.
We have a good range of shops in the town and we need to support them by buying locally whenever we can. Research shows that when you buy from a local store as opposed to a chain, twice the amount of money stays in the local economy. In the attached http://www.highpeak.gov.uk/shoplocal/10reasons.pdf it says that for every £10 spent locally in an independent shop £25 is generated for the local economy. In Ashbourne this is reinforced by the Ashbourne Partnerships loyalty card scheme which rewards shoppers for spending locally.
If you need any help spending your local pounds have a read of my Try Ashbourne First blogs looking behind the front door of some of Ashbourne’s independent retailers https://ashbournevoice.wordpress.com/try-ashbourne-first/