Among all the goodies on sale at the St Nicholas Fair Christmas market, one chalet in particular is well worth a visit.
It is not selling anything – except a very important message: ‘Support York’s independent businesses this Christmas’.
For this week and last, Indie York has taken a chalet in the Parliament Street festive market, giving away free maps and pointing people the way of some terrific small businesses.
Indie York founder Johnny Hayes says the best way to support independent businesses is to simply buy things from them.
“If people do, then it is estimated that 65% of that money spent goes back into the local economy,” he told YorkMix.
“If you shop at the multiples or chains, then only 30% is returned to the local economy. But if they use the online giants then virtually nothing goes back into the local economy.”
Another way to boost the independent businesses is by sharing their pages and posts on social media.
The number of members of Indie York is increasing all the time. “There are 186 on the map at present,” said Johnny.
“The new edition will be out in the new year. There are about another 30 people waiting for the next edition.”
But because more than two-thirds of the businesses in York are independent, there are plenty more who have yet to sign up.
Indie York has received a lot of support from different organisations as they want to encourage locals and visitors to shop at local businesses.
“York BID have been very supportive over the last two years,” said Johnny. “They have supported Indie York and have made all the difference.
“We would not have managed without their support paid for the last 10,000 maps that we are giving out on the Christmas Market Chalet this Christmas.
“So far we have distributed about 43,000 maps in 18 months.”
And Make It York gave over one of the St Nicholas chalets to the cause for two weeks.
There are plans in place for the future that intend on helping local businesses get more recognition and allow them to keep trading.
Johnny said: “We aim to have an Independent Festival at some point in the future. July the 4th was our original plan as it is ‘Independents Day’.
This will be an opportunity to showcase independents in the city.”
Ahead of Small Business Saturday (December 1), why not help out a good cause and support your local businesses today?