We can make a huge difference to the local economy by supporting small independent traders, says Nicole Tesseyman, St Ives Local advertising manager

Nicole Tesseyman
Nicole Tesseyman

Walking around St Ives and Hayle, offering advertising space in St Ives Local to all kinds of businesses — ranging from trusty town shops like Colenso’s, to cosy village pubs like the Engine Inn, to amazing restaurants like Ugly Butterfly — has given me an insight into how so many wonderful businesses, both small and large, need our support now more than ever.

People who run their own businesses are strong, innovative, hard-working individuals, with passion, grit, and dreams they strive to achieve. In just the last few weeks, we have seen pubs and shops closing due to rising rates. It’s so sad when their owners have tried so hard to “make it work”.

I was at the Secret Quay Kitchen in Hayle before Christmas, with my partner and sister. I hadn’t been there before, and I thought it was delightful! The food was delicious, and very reasonably priced.

The owners gave us a warm welcome, the staff were great, and there are many quirky ideas which make the restaurant unique. The walls are made from reclaimed wooden doors, and re-used glass jars hold sumptuous sauces. The tables are scaffolding planks with shared seating, so you end up chatting with your fellow diners! It’s all very on-trend with its upcycled theme.

To my surprise, I discovered that the bright, friendly couple who I was sitting next to — Miranda and Damian — are the owners of three local pubs, including the White Hart at Ludgvan, where I had already been booked to sing on New Year’s Eve!  

We talked of many things, but one thing I must mention — as it’s the reason I was inspired, even compelled, to write these words — is that we all felt strongly about supporting each other, and we agreed how little we each need to do to keep local businesses going.

Someone remembered a quote that says: “If every person in a town or village bought just a cup of tea once a week in their local pub or café, it would keep the business running.” On waking the next morning, I couldn’t get this simple solution out of my mind, and I realised it would translate to all small businesses.

I love a toasted sandwich, and hot chocolate in my favourite café, Cafe Art, in the Drill Hall in St Ives, rather than in a supermarket café! It’s not the amount you spend, but the consistency of a small regular purchase, and that’s something we can all do — with shopkeepers buying a sandwich from a deli on their street, and deli workers buying a coffee from a nearby cafe at break time. Why not buy a hand-made card or a pair of earrings for a Mother’s Day present from a local shop rather than order from a certain well-known multinational retailer?

So next time you put something in your online basket and are about to click, I ask you to consider the difference you can make if you take a nice stroll through your home town or village and treat yourself to something from a local shop — and make a hard-working business owner smile. Because if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it! 

It would be a real shame if this beautiful, magical part of the world ended up full of boarded-up buildings and charity shops and chain stores, instead of unique shops like Sweetlime, Yvette’s Pantry, and Morva Koffi. It’s down to us, my beauties, so let’s make a small purchase and make a huge difference!

Book now SIL magazine