Small Business Saturday, the grassroots, non-commercial campaign that highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’, is back on 4 December.
In the run-up this weekend’s event, the campaign has been running its annual ‘Small Biz 100’ initiative, highlighting 100 small businesses (one every day leading up to 4 December) across its social channels. Today’s company is Giddy Goat Toys, an independent toy store based in Didsbury, Manchester. We asked owner Amanda Alexander why it’s vital that customers continue to support their high-street shops.
Hi Amanda, can you tell us a little about Giddy Goat Toys?
We’re a traditional toy shop, run by enthusiastic and experienced staff. We’re all parents and we take a pride in helping customers find the ideal gift or toy based on the child’s age and interests, as well as the customer’s budget. We’re similar to a lot of other independent toy shops in that we try to offer excellent and personal customer service, a range of products with lots of play value that offer value for money, and which maybe can’t be found on the shelves of the supermarkets.
What is Small Business Saturday about, and what does being one of this year’s Small Biz 100 involve?
The campaign is all about putting small businesses front and centre. As one of this year’s featured businesses I was invited to an event at the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace in the House of Lords, and it was so lovely to meet and speak with people with the same issues and challenges that many small retailers such as Giddy Goat Toys has faced during the last couple of years, and just take a day out to celebrate having got this far. There were speeches from Michelle Ovens CBE, who is the founder of Small Business Britain; Paul Scully, the Minister for Small Business, and Dan Edelman from American Express, who helped found and support The Small Business Saturday campaign.
I came away feeling energised and positive and proud to be part of the collection of small businesses that are so important to the local and national UK economy.
What can small independents offer that online retailers can’t?
We offer customers the chance to see the stock, but, more importantly, to discuss what items are suitable for the recipient they are buying for. We can also offer to order in specific products, plus we also offer a sense of connection to people and a sense of belonging to a local community. We really appreciated this post-Covid when customers came back in after the lockdowns and were glad to be back in shops and talking to people.
We also offer children the chance to ‘learn’ how to shop; they can bring their pocket money in and work out what they can afford with it, count their coins on the counter and take responsibility for talking to the staff and how they spend or save their money.
Why is it so important that people visit the high street?
It’s very much a case of use it or lose it. Not only do local shops contribute to the feel of an area, but we are employers, we donate to local school PTAs and charities. Shopping is still an important leisure activity and people enjoy a mooch round their local shops.
Are you running any special promotions or offers before Christmas?
We’ve been running a 30% off Playmobil offer over Black Friday/Cyber Monday and we’ll be doing some promotions on Small Business Saturday – probably a lucky dip for children and some freebies to give away – but we won’t be offering much in the way of discounts. I’m a big believer in not taking part in a race to the bottom and making margin on my sales so that we are here long term.
Finally, any plans for 2022?
I’ll be visiting the Toy Fair in London in January and Spring Fair at the NEC in February. I’m always on the lookout for interesting new lines, or selling or marketing opportunities and collaborations, so we’ll see how it goes.
Giddy Goat Toys,2 Albert Hill Street, Didsbury, Manchester. M20 6RF.