Following a difficult few months for the high street, we want to celebrate the independent businesses and retailers which make East Lothian so unique. 

2020 has been a tough year for the great British high street. Already facing pressure from big retailers, online outlets and shopping malls, lockdown has been particularly trying for local businesses.

We all know that shopping local helps support the local economy, creates jobs and boosts our communities, and East Lothian is home to a wealth of brilliant small businesses. They’re a crucial part of the fabric of life in the area, adding character, variety, buzz and bustle.

After an incredibly tough year for the local high street, we’re encouraging our readers to “use it or lose it”. Whether you’re stocking up on store cupboard essentials or finding the perfect gift for a friend, forget buying online and consider the businesses right here on your doorstep.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the businesses in your own town but less so with those in neighbouring communities? Perhaps you’re used to the convenience of big supermarkets but miss out on the social buzz and specialist expertise of small retailers? With so many of them under strain, now’s the time to think about how you can take a “use it or lose it” approach to our beloved local businesses.

In 2010, fewer than seven per cent of retail sales were made online. Fast forward to 2019 and that number was closer to 20 per cent. Following lockdown, the latest data shows that online spending accounts for about one in every three pounds spent by consumers.

We are passionate about the variety of brilliant businesses in our communities, from artisanal food producers to stylish homeware shops. With them come the knowledge and passion of small business owners, who know their product inside out and get to know their customers like friends.

A thriving high street is the life blood of a town or village, a place for people to meet and mingle. Local businesses also generate revenue to support council services such as libraries, parks and roads.

Furthermore, our local shops often source many of their goods from within the area, whether farm produce or crafts. By supporting them you could be investing in more than one small business, while also keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum. 

Feeling inspired? Click here, we’re filling you in on just a few of the local businesses we think you’ll love.

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