Shop Local - Conwy Promotes Local Shops/Cafés

The message to support our local businesses is nothing new, but has been brought into sharper focus by Covid-19. People might be restricted from travelling during lockdowns, or might be reluctant to use public transport or be among strangers in busy high streets and shops. Many of us just want to recognise our local businesses for the support they gave to people in these difficult times, such as setting up armies of volunteers to take free deliveries to those shielding or self-isolating, or staying open and providing a takeaway service when we all needed a Lockdown Pick-Me-Up.

Some time ago I read a statistic which said that if you shop in an independent shop, 94 pence in every pound will go back into the local community, whereas only 16 pence in every pound spent in a chain store will be recovered locally.

I’ve never been much of a shopper, I do a couple of big outings to Chester per year and you can always spot me, I’m the one with a detailed list and a face that says, “Don’t come near me, I am a woman on a mission and I might mow you down in my bid to get out of town”. It’s fair to say I’m not one of Nature’s Browsers!

However, recently I have been able to spend a couple of really nice Saturday mornings in Llanfyllin far more enjoyably than I would after doing battle with a Park & Ride and crowds and, at the same time, I can fulfil my #buylocal mission.

One such morning recently involved brunch with my mum, walking into Llanfyllin in the sunshine and starting at the lovely little vegan café that Kim has opened, Vegan Goodies Wales. I’m not a vegan but can’t eat dairy and Kim does the world’s best soya hot chocolate with swirly cream and marshmallows, something I thought I would never be able to have again. I bought a slice of her amazing cherry lattice tart (because cake counts as a balanced meal on a Saturday, right?) which she put in a takeaway box made of compostable vegetable waste. We had our usual chat about her dogs and her family (my order of priorities!) and then crossed the road to Siân’s wonderful café, Something Tasty.

She is kindly very open to me bringing my soya drinks in to have with my breakfast there and she and her smiling staff make sure we can sit inside safely, or outside in the sunshine, and have a lovely brunch to suit any taste. My hash browns habit is indulged by her without judgement!

Off then to Wyvern Woofterz, a small shop selling local-made wax melts and with a dog-grooming business attached. More dog talk with the lovely guys who own it and then sniffing around in a way even the dogs in the grooming parlour would think excessive, at all the gorgeous scented melts and being easily persuaded that I need a pack of these in my life.

Daisy Blue, a little boutique on the square, was open – selling not only clothes but lovely scarves, bags and jewellery, even I could start to see the attraction of clothes-shopping! It is spacious and thoughtfully set out and the bamboo socks with cats on have had a firm seal of approval from my friend’s 15-year old daughter, high praise indeed…….

Into Wishing Well to browse their selection of beautiful artisan cards and buy a birthday present for a friend (an ornament now taking pride of place on her hearth). My mother bought a reusable face mask that she texted later to say was the most comfortable one she owned then recovery from all the excitement of the morning with one more cup of tea!

With Christmas shopping season fast approaching, thoughts will be turning to how to manage it according to our budgets and local restrictions. More than ever, we need those unusual little surprises in our lives, to make us smile and remind us we will get through this, and that, in the meantime, there is fun to be had. I’d suggest you will find all the ingredients of fun and surprise in your local shops and, in the process, you will be making sure that virtually every penny goes back into your local community.

Happy shopping!