Have you noticed how a lot of our shops in the High Street have, or are now closing down?
Before Covid the building occupancy rate in the High Street was very high – not any more. Even the Charity Shops have commented that trade is slow. During the day, cafes and food shops are kind of ok. In the evening the Bars and Pubs are holding their own, but even then, it’s only the weekend trade that keeps them going.
It’s now the independent shops that are really struggling and sadly not sure if they’ll be able to survive, or even reach the end of the year. Yes this is part of a National problem that started through Covid then the awful Ukraine war, which has left most of us going through a cost of living crisis and a lot of people with a lot less money to spend.
Perhaps people might like to know:
* One shop in particular found that the heating and electricity bills had gone up from £8,000 to £30,000, but they will lose less money by closing the shop down, yet still pay the rent.
* People might say the landlords need to reduce their rent. But some landlords are still having to pay their mortgage on the building.
* Lots of people from further afield would like to continue to go into Stone and the High Street, but cannot, because either they can no longer drive or their bus rota has changed.
Is there anything we can do ?
Support the activities that are taking place in Stone. The ‘Stone Trader’s Group’ – that have liaised since 2018 with Stone Town Council and Stafford Borough Council and have produced another leaflet this year, which lists all the different activities already organised throughout the rest of the year.
Their leaflets can be found in lots of different shops with events that could appeal to the different age groups. The Puppet Festival, Stone by the Sea, the Music Festivals and a Classic Car Event to name just a few.
Everyone please also pray for all the Traders, the workers and anyone involved in the High Street in these difficult times. Give encouragement, hope for the future and creative minds to cope with each difficulty that they might have to face.
With many thanks