Shop local this Christmas say Biggleswade independent businesses

'It's more important than ever to support the local community and businesses that have been there for you all through lockdown'

By Joanna Gravett
Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 11:52 am

With Christmas just around the corner, shoppers are being encouraged to buy local to help the economy recover from the pandemic.

Determined Chronicle Country businesses are aiming to entice families into town centres this winter with festive goodies and tasty treats, as well as special events for the holiday season.

Shopkeepers are hoping that residents will support their hard work and help to keep high streets alive and thriving.

Support your local town centre businesses this Christmas. Credit (clockwise from top letf): Adrian Threlfall, Ginger Snaps Photography, Dee Dee's Vegan Cafe, Chris Bartlett.

Adrian Threlfall of Sweet Alley, Biggleswade, said: "It's not been bad at all, obviously there's been a few issues with getting stocks but we are travelling to different places. Last week, we got coconut mushrooms, chocolate gingers, and Haribo rhubarb and custard all the way from Birmingham.

"We didn't want to let our customers down.

"I think there's more people about which is good; we've got lots more life in the town. I'm seeing more faces that I haven't seen for a while, especially the older generation.

"They are carrying on and achieving what they need for themselves which is great."

Sweet Alley. Photo: Adrian Threlfall.

Sweet Alley has a range of over 350 different jar items and can have them made up as a unique Christmas gift.

Adrian added: "I think Biggleswade people seem to think they are going to get on with things and not give in. It's already a lot busier than last year."

Meanwhile, at Bamboo Turtle on Biggleswade High Street, the team is encouraging residents to shop local whilst also thinking about the environment.

Business owner and shopkeeper, Shani Crofton, said: "I think a lot more people are coming out and about and we have more customers in the shop. However, who knows, what with Europe - I think some of our customers are a bit more wary.

Bamboo Turtle. Photos: Chris Bartlett Photography.

"We ask customers to use hand gel and face masks, we are really good at cleaning and wiping down surfaces, and our door is always open."

Bamboo Turtle has a collection sustainable and recyclable Christmas wrapping paper, 'Make Your Own Christmas Crackers' sets, paper bows, and sustainable Christmas toys for children.

They are also encouraging families to 'regift' some items for loved ones.

Shani added: "It's about the experience of Christmas and being with friends and family, and with regifting you don't have to buy into the marketing of the TV and the media.

Sarah, Adam, and Henry the whippet from DRINK Biggleswade. Photo: Ginger Snaps Photography.

"We have all got things in our cupboards that we have either never used or only used once, and it would make a sustainable present for somebody.

"Or you could make a cake or perseveres or a knitted jumper.

"We just need to get society to accept it; it's not all about rushing round John Lewis at the last minute! It's about family and the community - the high street is important in the community sense."

Another business hoping customers will shop local this Christmas is DRINK Biggleswade, an independent craft beer tasting room based on Station Road.

Sarah Stilwell, business owner, told the Chronicle: "We have remained really busy all the way through. We offer deliveries and we've had lots of different events going on.

"We've had private tasting events and we had a sushi food truck outside; we've got another truck coming in December and are also linking up with Nonno Joe's this weekend - you can come here, have a beer and order a pizza.

DRINK Biggleswade.

"We are supporting another business and keeping it local."

DRINK Biggleswade also has a number of festive events planned, including a visit from food truck Buffalo Joe's (December 4), a stall at Sunday on the Square, Biggleswade Market Square (December 5), a drink and gift evening with mulled wine and a mince pie included (December 8), and a festive drinks and games evening (December 9).

It will also be opening later on Mondays (5pm - 9pm) and on Sundays (until 8pm), and residents can check their Instagram page, @drinkbiggleswade, for Christmas opening hours.

Sarah added: "It's been tough for everybody over the pandemic and with the poor Christmas we had last year. It's more important than ever to support the local community and businesses that have been there for you all through lockdown."

Over at Dee Dee's Vegan Café, this sentiment is shared by co-owners Simon Barker and Louise Goss, who opened their doors in April this year.

Simon told the Chronicle: "It's been good, we have had some days that have been better than others. It's been generally good; we have our regular returning customers and we are still getting new faces at the moment that are discovering us. It's been a busy few months!

"I certainly hope it stays busy. This is our first year doing this and hopefully we can entice people in while they are doing their Christmas shopping in town."

Simon and Louise are currently working on a box of treats as Christmas gifts, and are putting the final touches to the idea.

Simon said: "We have been here just over six months and still feel a relatively new business, making our mark in the town.

"More and more people are finding out about us and we'd like to say thank you to our amazing customers and thank you to local businesses for making us feel very welcome in the town."

Dee Dee's Vegan Cafe will also be attending Sunday on the Square on December 5 with tasty treats, hot food and coffee.

Simon added: "Come and warm up and come and find us!"

Dee Dee's Vegan Diner.