Love Hackney, Shop Local: Residents urged to support local retailers during lockdown

Residents are being urged to support hundreds of local businesses by shopping local for essential items and by taking advantage of the extensive range of online and click-and-collect services offered by the borough's high street businesses in a new ‘Love Hackney, Shop Local’ campaign launched today. 

The ‘Love Hackney, Shop Local’ campaign, which coincides with new national lockdown restrictions, brings businesses and the Council together to reassure residents that they can shop safely in their local high street food shops, post offices and other essential service providers that are allowed to remain open to the public. The campaign also introduces ‘My Virtual Hackney’ a free and easy to use online business directory for the borough.

Businesses who have had to close their premises by law under the new restrictions but are still able sell their goods online or through click-and-collect can add themselves to the business directory, at no cost, which will be promoted to the borough’s 280,000 residents as a convenient and easy route to purchase goods from local retailers while their shops are shut.

The directory features a wide variety of Hackney-based fashion, craft, electronics, and homeware retailers who are having to operate online-only for the time being and also includes independent food retailers, supermarkets and other essential businesses that are allowed to remain open under current rules.

Retail businesses have suffered significant business losses since March due to social distancing restrictions and low footfall. The four-week closure and the ongoing pandemic is set to put further strain on local businesses.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy
The ‘Love Hackney, Shop Local’ campaign is supporting our local business community through lockdown, encouraging us all to use our local businesses by shopping on our great high streets and in our street markets when we need those essential items for home. Our local businesses and traders are there to serve us all with quality products at good value and crucially at this time – making sure we can all shop safely.

Hackney’s retail offer is second-to-none and caters for all budgets, styles, tastes and needs. We’re fortunate to have such a variety of quality businesses literally on our doorsteps so the time has come for us all to pull together as one community to support our local businesses and traders and make sure that when COVID has passed we have a strong business community able to serve us into the future.

The safety and wellbeing of residents as well as everyone working in our local businesses is of paramount importance and the Council has visited hundreds of businesses to ensure they are COVID-secure to protect customers and staff, but it’s vital that residents who have to go out shopping continue to protect themselves by wearing a mask, washing their hands frequently and keeping a safe distance from others.
Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy

In May 2020 the Council asked local businesses about the impact the pandemic was having on their businesses and worryingly 28% retailers who responded had already been forced to make redundancies with 81% of retailers losing between 76% and 100% of their usual business income since the start of the pandemic and the remaining 19% of retailers noting losses of between 50% and 75%.

The Council has already distributed over £100million to businesses since March through business rates relief and business grants and the new directory, alongside the launch of a wider shop local campaign, forms part of the Council's long-term commitment to supporting the reopening of the local economy and the recovery of the borough’s businesses.

The ‘Love Hackney, Shop Local’ campaign will run over the next year and will go on to promote pubs, bars, fitness and leisure-related businesses, who are unable to operate online, once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Heidi Early runs Early Bird Designs, a card and gift shop in Stoke Newington Church Street and will be running her business online only during November.

She said: “We’ve had to close our shop for the second lockdown but we’re fortunate in that we also sell lots of our fabulous cards, gifts and stocking fillers on our website – no one needs to miss out on doing their Christmas shopping with us! It’s great to be part of ‘Love Hackney, Shop Local’ because it means more people in Hackney will discover our business even though our physical shop is closed.”

Businesses that have had to close but can operate online are urged to sign up to the directory now to ensure they benefit during lockdown.

‘My Virtual Hackney’ business directory has been created in partnership with ‘My Virtual Neighbourhood’, a London-wide business directory created by Stoke Newington-based business, Local Buyers Club, during the first lockdown in March 2020.

Visit the campaign website for more information.