Jingle tills! Shoppers back small businesses in Christmas rush

Thursday late night Christmas shoppers out in the city. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Thursday late night Christmas shoppers out in the city. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The city has steadily been getting busier in the run up to the big day with shoppers frantically trying to buy their last presents for loved ones. 

But with new restrictions being introduced last week high street bosses feared people may turn to spending online.

Lauren Gregory runs the St Garnett shop off the Norwich Market, and said: “It has been pleasantly steady in the shop this festive season. 

“Our most popular items being gluggle jugs and Norfolk-made preserves.” 

Lauren Gregory, owner of the Sir Garnet pub, saw a busy but manageable first day of trade. 

Lauren Gregory, owner of the Sir Garnet pub, saw a busy but manageable first day of trade. - Credit: Clarissa Place

The shop has seen regular footfall during the weekends but have found the weekdays to be unpredictable, so they are “taking it as it comes”. 

Lauren said: “People have definitely been taking new restrictions on board, we’ve seen that in people wearing their masks.” 

But she added her success has been in specialising in “items that are a little bit different”. 

Thursday late night Christmas shoppers out in the city. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Thursday late night Christmas shoppers out in the city. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Most Read

And Lauren added that the festive period is one of the most critical times to shop local, with more money benefitting people within the local economy.

She added: “You definitely get a more personalised experience if you shop in person as well. 

“We are so grateful for the people who come in wanting to support local businesses.” 

Thursday late night Christmas shoppers out in the city. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Thursday late night Christmas shoppers out in the city. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Laura Budds owns Norfolk Retro on St Augustine's, which specialises in vintage furniture and homewares.

She has seen footfall fluctuate in December with some people put off by gloomy weather.  

She said: “I’ve been busy but it has definitely been up and down. 

Laura Budds

Laura Budds - Credit: Laura Budds

“The weather has had the biggest impact on the businesses here in St Augustine's as we have had so much rain. You can really notice a massive decrease in footfall when the weather is bad.” 

And, she added, she thinks that people have been leaving their gift shopping until much later this year.  

Thursday late night Christmas shoppers in Lower Goat Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Thursday late night Christmas shoppers in Lower Goat Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

“People are out of the rhythm of the usual festive period because of the disruption of last year,” she said. 

But those who are shopping want vintage items for their presents under the tree.

She said: “It’s great to see people choosing vintage gifts, big sellers for me have been vintage cups and mugs.” 

She added: “People should shop independently at Christmas because they’re putting their money directly back into the economy.” 

Thursday late night Christmas shoppers walking through the Tunnel of Light in the city. Picture: DEN

Thursday late night Christmas shoppers walking through the Tunnel of Light in the city. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter