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Big business on Small Business Saturday!

Last weekend’s Small Business Saturday proved to be a resounding success as shoppers hit local high streets in their droves.

On the day (Saturday 7 December), free family entertainment and activities kept the crowds busy across eight of the borough’s high streets, while local businesses offered discounts and promotions in Walthamstow Town Centre, Leytonstone, Chingford, and Leyton.

Town Centres across the borough saw a significant boost in footfall on the day, with the Wood Street and Higham Hill areas seeing some 2,000 extra shoppers on the day! Local businesses commented on the extra numbers, particularly in the indoor market, and the buzz created on the whole street.

Businesses in Wood Street pulled together to make the day a success. Highlights included a shopfront competition, which was won by Aura Rosa Patisserie, a new business based in the indoor market.

Gio, from the patisserie, was thrilled to receive the award on the evening, and said: “We are really pleased with how well business has been going since moving to Wood Street.”

The fiesta atmosphere on the day lasted until early evening, attracting a mix of residents young and old who came out in force to support their local shops.

Leytonstone told a similar story, marking the event with the launch of ‘E11 Pop-Up’, a pop-up craft market at 819 High Street which showcased E17 Design - a collective of local arts and crafts designers and makers – and will remain open on Thursday-Sunday, until 22 December.

Cllr Pye, Cabinet Member for Town Centres, marked the opening by cutting a ribbon. She said: ““It’s really important we do our bit, but of course the main thing that can keep our town centres vital and viable is the support of local people. Only local residents can keep their high streets alive by using them regularly.”

Gill Usher one of the E11 Pop-Up designers said: “The E11 Pop-Up really does showcase the local designer maker talent. What a fantastic opportunity this has been, thanks to Waltham Forest Council.”

Leytonstone shoppers also hopped on to the NatWest Business bus to access free business advice and support, and younger children were entertained by West Ham Football Club’s Mrs Bubbles and Bubbles the Bear roadshow.

In Leyton, a Santa’s Grotto in Coronation Gardens also proved popular with the kids, as Santa handed out free gifts to everyone who stopped by. A free pop-up cinema also showed Arthur Christmas and attracted over 240 people and later in the evening there was a showing of Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rear Window, which pulled in 80 visitors to the local area.

Walthamstow Town Centre proved to be very popular due to its children’s rides, mini golf and comedy photo-booth in the Town Square, alongside a continuous loop showing The Snowman film on the big screen. Promotions, discounts and activities, including a bell ringing workshop at 38 Hoe Street and puppet show, helped to draw in extra people.

100 visitors also went to South Chingford’s Santa’s Grotto and Shine Dance Academy of Performing Arts wowed the crowds with a street dance presentation which encouraged child spectators to get involved.

One resident said: “I have lived her for 20 years, and I am very pleased with the regeneration works and how they have improved the mount and made it a better place”.

Visitors to North Chingford were treated to a reindeer train organised by local shops, a Santa’s Grotto, Christmas stalls and music performed by local musicians at the Village Arcade.

Commenting on the increased footfall at shopping hotspots across the borough, Cllr Mark Rusling, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Corporate Resources, said: “It was wonderful to see so many local people using the shops on their high streets in the run up to Christmas.

“As a Council we got right behind Small Business Saturday as it was a perfect fit with the Love Your High Street campaign that we kicked off in the summer.”

-ENDS-

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