IT was a pleasure to join AM Lee Waters, Llanelli Mayor David Darkin and some of our local Labour councillors in the town centre for Small Business Saturday.
This is always a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the contribution local shops and independent retailers make to our community here in Llanelli.
It is these businesses that keep our town vibrant and unique, so it is vital that we make every effort to support them. As well as encouraging others to shop local, I took the opportunity to make a start on my Christmas shopping with some items from shops in Llanelli town and Burry Port.
Small Business Saturday is also an important reminder that when it comes to local shops and independent businesses, it is very much a case of use it or lose it. If we don’t make the most of these assets, we could see more of them close. I, like many others, have been very concerned to see shops disappear form the town centre recently. This reflects a retail crisis up and down the country that has been driven by the continuing drift to internet shopping.
This worrying trend prompts us to rethink what we want from our high streets and town centres. We must rebalance the mix of residential, office, retail, personal services and leisure activity providers in order to increase town centre footfall.
But let’s not forget that we have seen a number of businesses come to Llanelli. Within one year, I had the pleasure of opening Leslie Gilbert Jewellers in the Stepney Arcade and the new HQ of Logic Document, a data management company that now neighbours it.
This and some of the other new businesses we’ve seen open here recently are welcome, but we need to do what we can support them and help our town centre to flourish.