Businesses are being given the chance to join a new searchable ‘digital high street’ website to help reach consumers.
Buy Local North Tyneside began as a simple online list of businesses open during lockdown, and has since developed into website www.localnorthtyneside.co.uk, detailing which businesses are open and what goods and services they provide.
So far hundreds of organisations have been added to the website, where shoppers can search by business name, type or location, to find the provider of a product or service they need – encouraging people to ‘buy local’.
All that businesses need to do to appear on Buy Local North Tyneside is go to www.buylocalnorthtyneside.co.uk/register-business/ and enter their details.
The three business chambers of North Shields, Whitley Bay and Wallsend came together to start the Buy Local North Tyneside project in a bid to encourage footfall to town centres and high streets, and it rapidly grew with the support of local businesses and North Tyneside Council.
Chair of North Shields Business Chamber, Miles Walton, said: “When lockdown happened it was clear that it would be very useful for shoppers to have an idea of which businesses were still operating across North Tyneside.
“Once we got going on the list of open businesses it then became obvious how useful a searchable, up-to-date directory of local businesses would be both for consumers and the organisations themselves.
“Thanks to the hard work of many local businesses who have pulled together, we have created something which we hope will be the first port of call for shoppers in the area.
“Our plan is that this new website will eventually feature every business in North Tyneside and will help to bring safe footfall back to our high streets and give the local economy a big boost.”
The website, which is free for companies to register for, will be kept up to date with businesses’ latest developments and is linked to specific ‘Buy Local North Tyneside’ Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.
There will also be a Community page featuring local events, opportunities and initiative added in the near future.
The website was put together by the Chambers, with the help of Canny Clever and Cargo Creative, who collaborated on the technical side of the site, and Newcastle Building Society.
Retail champion and digital marketing expert Graham Soult has also been an informal consultant on the project. He believes initiatives like this are vital in helping to revitalise the High Street.
He said: “I am a big advocate of the high street going online – I encourage all the businesses I work with to get themselves on the internet and using social media. I don’t see the internet as much of a threat to the high street, as it can be a benefit.
“Bricks and mortar businesses can use the internet and social media to drive football to their premises and Buy Local North Tyneside is doing just that.
“Towns like Whitley Bay, North Shields and Wallsend have so much to talk positively about on their high streets. When headlines are often so negative, people can forget the great things that are on offer in these town centres.
“This website rounds up in one place all the businesses there are out there that are serving the community and reminds people how much there is in their local area.”
Cllr Bruce Pickard, Deputy Mayor and North Tyneside Council’s Cabinet member for Business and Economic Development, agreed.
He said: “As a council we’re taking a lead role in the recovery of the local economy so we’re pleased to support the businesses and Chambers of Trade working together on this initiative.
“This new tool is a great way to encourage people to shop local and support businesses in such challenging and uncertain times.”
Follow Buy Local North Tyneside on social media at @BLNorthTyneside.
Notes to editors