MP backing independent retailers
JULIE DROPS IN ON CITY CENTRE TRADERS AS PART OF SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY CAMPAIGN
A Sunderland MP has dropped in on one of the city’s oldest family-run shops to show her support for Small Business Saturday.
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott paid a visit to Reynolds Outdoor Centre, which has been doing business in the city centre for more than 150 years.
The Derwent Street shop, which sells army surplus clothing, as well as outdoor wear, accessories and winter sports equipment, is one of a number of independent retailers that has benefited from Small Business Saturday, when shoppers are encouraged to pay a visit to the locally-run businesses on their doorstep.
Julie met with Anthony Reynolds, who took over the running of the shop from his father, before paying a visit to Park Lane market, which has seen many of its units taken over by independent retailers – including Reynolds – as part of Sunderland Business Improvement District(BID)’s Christmas activities.
“Businesses like Reynolds Outdoor Centre are the cornerstone of Sunderland’s retail scene – we have so many fantastic independent businesses that bring vibrancy to our city centre,” said Julie. “Howcentre,” said Julie. “However, these businesses only survive with the support of people here, so it’s great to get out and learn more about some of the fantastic retailers we have on the doorstep.
“Small Business Saturday is a timely reminder to ‘shop local’, and ensure that businesses like Reynolds are here for decades to come.”
Reynolds Outdoor Centre first opened its doors in 1860, as an army supplies store, which – at the time – sold clothing for the thousands of workers who flocked to the mines and shipyards in the area.
Anthony is the fifth generation to take to the helm: “Sunderland was a very different place when the business got started,” he said.
“We have a loyal customer base, but of course, it’s always great when days like Small Business Saturday encourage more people to come and see what we are about.
“With more and more people turning to internet shopping, it can be tough for independent businesses that rely on customers coming into store, so Small Business Saturday is an important day for us.”
Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at the BID, said: “Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to showcase not just the market, but to also flag up the really strong independent retailers that we have.”
Anthony Reynolds and father Peter Reynolds, with Julie Elliott MP.
Julie Elliott MP (left) with Sharon Appleby of Sunderland BID.