If you’re a local business looking for community support, the best place to be it would appear, is Manchester.
That was the finding of a nationwide study which looked at the longevity of SMEs such as restaurants, cafes, bakers, butchers and greengrocers who have managed to trade for anything between 25 and 100 years – as well as the size of the population they serve.
They managed to rank the top 50 communities, scoring them on a local council level using Companies House to help create an overall index score.
Manchester came top with 143 companies they termed Local Legends per 25.9 per 100,000. These figures combined to give them an index score of 95.9. Birmingham came next with 90.1 followed by Camden with 83.1 and Belfast with 81.3.
Other criteria was introduced. While other areas had more local legends per capita, the fact that Manchester has managed to sustain seven local businesses for more than 100 years helped to cement its place at number one on the list compiled on behalf of CapitalOnTap.
Even during a worldwide pandemic, local traders continued to serve their communities
Manchester, it emerged, was also home to the oldest registered company included in the study – the Fallowfield Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club which has been running for 150 years.
On a regional level, Yorkshire & the Humber gave London a run for its money with both having three appearances in the top 10 with Leeds, Sheffield and Kirklees proving to be among the best areas in the UK for supporting local.
Looking at the Top 50, the South West and North West both have nine total appearances while the North East and Northern Ireland have one apiece.
David Luck, CEO of Capital on Tap said: “These traders are the lifeblood of local communities so it’s great to see how businesses up and down the country have kept their doors open for so long.
“The last nine months or so have been incredibly challenging for businesses everywhere, and while the future is still uncertain, seeing how so many businesses have managed to survive for more than 25 years, or even 100 in some cases, shows just how resilient the nation’s entrepreneurs can be – with some continuing to trade despite two World Wars and numerous economic recessions.
“Even during a worldwide pandemic, local traders continued to serve their communities, often fronting the cost of PPE themselves and putting their own health at risk. That’s why we believe that local business owners truly are legends who are well-deserving of a shoutout for keeping our cupboards stocked, and the economy going throughout 2020.”
See the full list here
This rang true with Dan Whytock, CEO of the online marketpace, Down Your High Street, who said: “We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of small indie retailers signing up to sell via our site and an even larger increase in consumer traffic, for example November’s traffic was eight times higher than January’s this year.
It’s been a tough year for independent retailers and many need to make up lost revenues this Christmas season
“There is no doubt the demand is there, and people are looking for a more supportive way to shop. I see this demand and desire growing during 2021 – giving the New Year a much more positive outlook than the difficult months of 2020.”
He added: “It’s been a tough year for independent retailers and many need to make up lost revenues this Christmas season, so one way of supporting your local high street and economy is to buy from small, local indie retailers.
“You’ll find unique gifts that can’t be bought from the either the bricks-and-mortar or online giants. You’ll support local business and local job creation. Also, the independent retailers are often in the small side streets of a town, so there are fewer people around and less of a crush in the shop itself, making it a more pleasant experience as well as a safer one.”