Moray shoppers have been urged to buy presents and products locally instead of online or risk losing their bustling high streets.
With the festive period now in full swing, Elgin Business Improvement District (BID) wants to persuade people to stop internet shopping and instead pay a visit to a local retailer.
Elgin’s town centre has undergone a turbulent year, with the closure of big name stores such as Poundworld creating an empty eyesore unit and the building almost collapsing.
However, Batchen Street has had a revival with eight empty units two years ago filling up with independent retailers.
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Now, BID chairman and co-owner of men’s grooming shop Sirology, Richard Cumming, wants to attract more shoppers to the town centre and help small businesses in the area thrive.
He said: “Elgin is very fortunate that we have a range of businesses from retail to professional services to hospitality for a wide area geographically but also a wide spectrum of people from the young to old and we want to make sure shopping is a pleasant experience for them all.
“We also offer things online can’t such as experience, knowledge and also customer service. The most you get out of a website is an online chat which could be with somebody from another country but you come into a shop in Elgin and you get face-to-face service with experience and knowledge.
“There’s also the employment and the knock-on from that we have additional services brought in by the businesses through BID such as hanging baskets, additional street cleaning and the Elgin Gift Card so we are offering something more all the time but it is only there if people use it.”
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead also highlighted the importance of shopping locally.
He said: “The shopping experience in Elgin city centre as in many places throughout Moray has improved dramatically in the last few years with the fight back of the high streets and we are so lucky now that we have many bespoke shops in places such as Batchen Street.
“With Christmas coming up it is great to get behind our local shops and our local high streets.”