Small Business Saturday - December 2013

The first national Small Business Saturday in the UK took place on 7th December 2013. The run up to the day was busier than usual as more businesses joined in to participate on the day.

Gracefield Gardens was transformed into a hub of designer home-maker stalls with community activity and local businesses.  The community DJ treated us to some cool jazz and Christmas music that warmed the heart and soul.  

Everyone had a great time and it was as though time stood still from the moment Rev. Phil Robinson of the local Streatham Baptist Church, opened the event in prayer at 11.10am until the Music of excellence singers serenaded us with some beautiful carols in different languages. 

Our MP and "patron" of Small Business Saturday in the UK, Chuka Umunna MP dropped in at 1.30pm with a show of solidarity and support to his constituent’s biggest small business event. His arrival was a welcome attraction which put a seal of approval on the activities of the day, as he went round each stall meeting and chatting to all stallholders and local people. This culminated in a group photograph for the Small Business Saturday website.

About 175-180 people came into the Gracefield Gardens venue and enjoyed the community atmosphere of soft soulful music, arts and crafts stalls, business exhibitions, massage and nail bar, cakes and raffle draw. The Streatham Baptist church members provided and served tea and cakes to all. Almost all stallholders made sales and some contributed raffle prizes, which were won by excited local people in the community.

Sue McGhie of MadeInStreatham impressively stated "this event is a success and I would like to be part of it again....thank you". 

“The atmosphere created in Streatham is definitely different  …. Thank you”, - a local resident

At Earl Grey& Rose things started off rather slowly with their regulars but the popularity increased for them as the day progressed.  Chuka Umunna popped-in and his visit generated much free publicity for Earl Grey & Rose in the local newspaper. 

The appearance of Chuka encouraged more people to visit the cafe and Gillian, the owner, reckoned they had about 25% uptake of new customers. “This is good free publicity for us, thank you... We were busier than usual and the takings were up”. Gillian was pleased to be a part of SBS and will do it again in a heartbeat!

Over 40 people visited the Manna Christian Centre Bookshop of which approximately 40% were new customers.  The story telling and face painting there were very popular with families and young children.  One parent commented "this is a great shop ...I didn't realise we had this in our neighbourhood. thank you for organising this".  Much fun was had by all and Manna had their best day of the year!!  

Indigo Tree had very encouraging feedback. They had a good day and were very busy with approximately 30% increase of new customers. Their prize draw was an incentive for people to spend on quirky and special Christmas gifts in a relatively new shop. The day was marked with their highest sales recorded and they would be happy to do it again.

Bayshi bags also had record sales and said they would be happy to be involved again. Most of their stock of scarves, small purses and body bags were snapped up at 10% discount. “…much improved sales and new customers came through the door, thank you”,

The event in all participating venues was a success raising £123.32 for the Evelina Children's Hospital. A big thank you to all those who contributed to help make Small Business Saturday a success.

- Simi Solomon

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