The PEOPLE of Helensburgh are urged to put local independent businesses at the top of their shopping list to help the city’s economy rebound from Covid.
The plea comes from the Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce as the easing of restrictions sees more of a return of a sense of “normalcy” to the area and the rest of the country.
Chamber general manager Vivien Dance said in a Zoom webinar last week that she estimates there are more than 500 entrepreneurs living in the Helensburgh and Lomond area.
She asked her audience to do their part to not only help these independent businesses make the most of this ‘new normal’, but to talk about the area in hopes that more and more people will want to visit and spend their money locally.
Speaking at the first of a new series of Helensburgh Community Council webinars on ‘business and entrepreneurship’, Ms Dance said the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago was “the epitome” of unforeseen risks faced by local entrepreneurs.
“I would defy anyone to have ever put [Covid] in a risk assessment of their business,” Ms Dance said.
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“My plea is that when making decisions about how to spend, remember that places are made by people.
“You should be like doctors who take an oath to ‘do no harm’. Think local businesses first and don’t add to the unenviable list of risks businesses face. Give them something they can save, or invest, or put in their “reward” column,
“Trade with your local entrepreneurs. Keep them in business. By doing this, you are helping to continue to build Helensburgh’s reputation as a thriving city, a commercially strong city, a viable city, and a city that people from elsewhere want to visit.
“Now we may have come to a kind of ‘post-Covid’ situation, maybe they will be flocking here in droves this year.
“If I had a dream, it would be for people to stop bashing the city. Tell everyone how good Helensburgh is.
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“The visitors I receive from the south are jealous of what we have here. Let’s talk about it and work together, and think about every decision we make.
“I know from other chambers of commerce that we’re doing pretty well in Helensburgh. We have much to be proud of and I’m very proud of the companies that make our city what it is.
Ms Dance also said the House welcomed plans for a new Sunday market in the town, to be held weekly from April to September after council chiefs gave the green light to plans last month.
The application, by Harold Hood, for a yard at 15 West Princes Street, was filed in May last year and drew seven objections from members of the public.
Ms Dance said: “The Chamber supported the new license from the existing market. It brings traffic to downtown Helensburgh, and traffic is the essence of business.
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“I don’t think people come to Helensburgh just to shop around when it’s open. You can do it in half an hour. People then try to go around the shops available in the town.
“The jury is all in on the Sunday Market concept, but if it brings people to Helensburgh, that can only be a good thing.
“You have to try things and if they don’t work, you try something else. But my view is that the market is extremely beneficial.
Ms Dance also highlighted the House’s support for plans for six new light industrial units on a site in Moss Road, between Helensburgh and Cardross and next to the Helensburgh-Dumbarton railway line.
This application, submitted by CKM Holdings Ltd, was lodged with Argyll and Bute Council last summer and is still awaiting a decision from planning officials.
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