Small businesses from across the north-east are recording record sales as crowds flock to Aberdeen’s Christmas Market.
Retailers are gearing up for another busy weekend with thousands expected to peruse the range of stalls within the Bon Accord shopping centre.
The annual event, taking on a different form to previous years amid the pandemic, reaches its midway point this weekend.
And chief executive of organiser Aberdeen Inspired, Adrian Watson, has been “delighted” with the reaction.
“It has clearly proved popular and safely attracted high numbers of people,” he said.
‘It has never been more important’
Last month The Press And Journal revealed that footfall in the city centre has plummeted by more than half during the Covid-19 health crisis.
Mr Watson added: “That footfall coming into the city centre will have had a positive knock-on effect to other local businesses at a time when it is most needed.
“Many of the traders we have had have been telling us they are enjoying record sales, and also how important it has been for them to have a safe and well managed space to sell their products from.
“It has never been more important for the public to get behind Aberdeen and consider buying their gifts from shops and businesses in the city centre.
“This makes a huge difference to all our retailers and in turn, supports local jobs.”
Some of the retailers at this year’s Aberdeen Christmas Market only recently launched their business.
This includes Origin, run by staff and a student from Gray’s School Of Art who only began selling their wares last month.
Partnering with local businesses, they recycle waste plastic into keepsake products, including their signature plant pots.
Lecturer Ben Durack, one of the three-strong team behind the company, said: “Everyone thinks that, when you put something in the bin, something magical happens to it.
“But we realised that often you put something in the recycling and don’t know where it goes.
“We realised we’re not the big decision-makers and the only way to effect change was to start up our own company.”
He added: “We sold out all of our stock within the first week.
“The response has been incredible; we thought it would last the full two weeks.
“None of this would have been possible without the support of Gray’s, and the work Aberdeen Inspired has done to bring a bit of sparkle to the city is incredible.”
Market is a ‘huge bonus’
Among the other Aberdeen Christmas Market stallholders is Danielle Leuellen, who left the oil and gas industry to start Wee Jewel Company in October.
Having seen first-hand tragedies in northern Iraq and Kurdistan, she has been donating some of her profits to Operation Underground Railroad, which helps people forced into sex trafficking.
“I only launched in October so I didn’t expect a Christmas market to be going ahead this year,” she said.
“It’s been nice to meet people and just see them happy and out and about in the city.
“It’s a huge bonus for all small businesses to get our brands out there.
“People are making an effort to support local businesses as well.”
Aberdeen Christmas Market, which is also raising money for charity Charlie House, is open 10am-6pm Thursday-Sunday until December 13, and then from December 17-23.