By Dawn Robinson-Walsh:
As we head towards Christmas, Bude & Beyond wants to give a shout out to local businesses, who have been very proactive since lockdown restrictions ceased (and alongside it the furlough, which helped many to survive previous ravages of the pandemic). It is great to see local shops still being careful, socially distancing customers, offering sanitiser and encouraging the mandatory wearing of masks.
Having done a bit of local shopping yesterday, it struck me that the key benefits to the consumer lie in building up good customer relations in your favourite shops.
Shopkeepers and cafe owners who know me are friendly and chatty, and invariably know what sort of new products/offerings I might be interested in; they don’t mind me browsing while I make up my mind. Free gift wrapping, even for inexpensive gifts, is also a lovely gesture.
Invariably, I also usually meet someone I know (whether in real life or just through social media) and can connect with them, too.
Bude’s retailers are putting in long hours and making a massive effort, both to sustain their own businesses but also for the community.
Many of our local businesses are independent and unique, which helps to keep money in the town and maintain its character. Of course, sometimes we all need to buy stuff online or from elsewhere, but if it can be done locally, then that’s a bonus. Successful local businesses encourage other entrepreneurs to set up too, making for a vibrant town centre. That said, many local makers (and Bude has loads of small-scale artisans) sell online on Etsy, so using that service can help them, too.
Whether it is a ceramic bauble from The Kitchen Front, delicious deli food from Bellini’s, jewellery from the Alchemist, art from Seventh Wave, a card from either of our post offices, or a book from Spencer Thorn, every little helps.
Talking books, as I’ve read well over 70 of them this year, many of them library books, I also wanted to thank Bude Library for their unstinting service. Hopefully, more people will use it.
The array of books on offer is amazing, but you can also order online using the borrow, renew and reserve service (there is also an app). I invariably drop off my read books, pick up my ordered books (which come from libraries anywhere in Cornwall) and usually manage to find a free book or two in their cancelled section, too. I’ve been transported to many other worlds during 2021, all through the magic of books.
I always fancied a job in a library (left that too late, really) but think I’d want to read everything that came in, anyway. For winter joy, reading is hard to beat. I grew to love libraries as a child, when libraries had that old book smell and we had paper tickets. Times have changed and Bude Library is now a one-stop shop, and has computer/wifi access. Pre-Covid, it had a number of groups meeting there, too. Hopefully, those days will return.
Do you have a favourite shop or book to read? Want to give a shout out to a local business? Add your comment or if you want to say a little more, do fill in the contact form below and engage.