SMALL Business Saturday is this year being held on December 7 and shoppers across the Tivyside region are being urged to back their local independent shops.

Now in its seventh year in the UK, the campaign has grown significantly each year and once again, local businesses are asking people to support their independent local high street.

Both Cardigan mayor Cllr Shan Williams and her Newcastle Emlyn counterpart Cllr Alan Jones have stressed the importance of ‘shopping local’ during their terms and keeping money in the local economy.

And “use us or lose us” is the message from Cardigan Traders chairman Martin Radley.

“We have a fantastic variety of shops with excellent products and this is the life blood of the town,” he said.

“Cardigan is a market town and it’s so important we keep that ethos alive.

“It is great that people do support us, both locals and visitors. People come in during the summer and say how much they enjoy still seeing a butcher’s shop, a baker’s shop, the independent cafes etc rather than a large supermarket or chain store.

“That’s the beauty of Cardigan and while we are probably doing better than most, let’s be honest enough to say that the high street is in deep, deep trouble.

“So many big-names stores are closing, with the likes of Amazon and ebay driving all before them.

“The priority must be to abolish business rates and introduce a system people can afford to pay, while car parking charges are another big bugbear.

“But hopefully people appreciate the personal service we offer and the friendly smile behind the counter and we are grateful for the support we receive from local customers.

“But it is a case of use us or lose us. You don’t realise what you are missing until it’s not there.”

Or as one other local trader put it: “Shop local because Amazon won’t provide raffle prizes for your kids’ school, sponsor community facilities or have a friendly face and a listening ear.”

So as we head into the Christmas period, the Tivyside urges you – support your local shops. The very fabric of your town and local community depends on it.