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Festive party fosters a community spirit

So, how was it for you? I mean trade for 2009. Was it as bad as we were led to believe, or did your business buck the trend?

We are still going through challenging times and no one can rest on their laurels. However, I do believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel – it’s called 2010.

In the meantime, as a retailer with a hands-on approach, I am one for seeing an opportunity and grabbing it. In Primrose Hill in north London, where my business is based, we had a Christmas shopping experience like no other. Part of the road was closed and pedestrianised, Father Christmas and his helpers were there for the kids, with stalls selling barrel loads of mulled wine and mince pies, and loads of Christmas present stalls, plus we had the lights switched on by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Much like our Summer Fair, it was a great success.

Yours truly used the opportunity to contact customers and to take part in the fun, share a glass of something bubbly, as well give people a look through our fabulous Christmas offer. It was altogether a great opportunity not to be missed, and showed that with careful planning (this had been like a military campaign) fantastic rewards can be had.

For me it was an opportunity to get to know my fellow shopkeepers and work alongside them in organising the event. Some lovely friendships have been forged and while business is something we all have in common as we are all independent retailers, it can be very lonely, so getting together on a weekly basis for a gossip and a laugh had its rewards.

So, may the Christmas cheer begin and the tills start ringing.

  • Pamela Shiffer is owner of the eponymous womenswear store in Primrose Hill, north London

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