Chichester district businesses are seeing a boost this Christmas

Shoppers are snapping up wonderfully unique gifts from the district’s fantastic independent businesses this Christmas as shoppers continue to support local businesses.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 10:20 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 10:31 am

Chichester’s first late-night shopping event, organised by Chichester BID, last Thursday has been hailed a success with more to be held later this month.

It comes as throughout December, The Observer has teamed up with Chichester District Council and V2 radio to encourage people back onto the high street with the Support Local Christmas campaign.

On top of a raft of parking incentives across Chichester, East Wittering, Midhurst, Petworth and Selsey, shops can request beautifully-designed gift tags and recycled wrapping paper designed for each of the five areas, by visiting: www.chichester.gov.uk/christmasbusinesspack

Shoppers have been heading to support the district's businesses this festive season. Photo by Derek Martin Photography and Art. SUS-211127-201018008

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Tina Johnson owns Seal Island Wools in Selsey with her children, Robin and Emily. They used the gift tags featuring the distinctive Selsey Hall illustration to decorate their shop window.

Tina said: “The gift tags are just fantastic. I spent an entire day attaching them to the baby outfits and woollen hats in the window and they look wonderful.

“Not all families can meet up this Christmas, so gifts bought from Seal Island Wools with these tags clearly show that they are made here in Selsey and are extra special. It’s these personal touches that people really love and make them want to shop locally.”

Seal Island Wool, Selsey SUS-210712-095126003

Seal Island Wools is just one of many businesses across the area to have embraced the Support Local Christmas campaign to encourage people to buy from the wealth of local shops, where customers can be sure of a warm reception and where staff go the extra mile.

Tina adds: “Our main line of business is babywear. Many mums want hand-knitted clothes so they come here and choose the pattern, the yarn, and the design, and I make them. I would like to think it is a very special experience for them.

“What we do here is personal and unique.

“We’re flattered that holidaymakers order from us once they get home because they like what they have seen in the shop. I’ve just sent large orders off to Kent and Middlesbrough but we’ve also had orders from America and Australia — we have become international!”

A lot of Seal Island Wools customers are housebound, so the family offer a free local delivery service, which has been going long before the pandemic began.

Hiten Shah has owned Shells Toys and Gifts in East Wittering for the past 17 years.

He said: “We’re at the seaside, just 300 metres from the beach so our stock is very seasonal. In the summer we sell windbreaks, body boards and beach toys.

“At this time of year it’s very quiet so the Support Local campaign is brilliant for us. We have Lego and Leapfrog products and games like Monopoly, which make wonderful Christmas presents. We’re excited to give away the free recycled wrapping paper and gift tags. It’s an excellent campaign.”

Councillor Tony Dignum, cabinet member for growth, place and regeneration at Chichester District Council, says that he is delighted with the response to the campaign but urges the public to continue following the Government’s latest coronavirus guidelines: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Tony says: “The atmosphere in our city and town centre high streets is fantastic at the moment. There’s something very special in the air and that’s down to a combination of businesses making a real effort and people responding to this and doing their Christmas shopping locally.

“There’s a sense that we really need to make the most of what’s on our doorstep after such a difficult Christmas in 2020.

“But, as I’m sure everyone will be aware, the Government has announced that Covid rules are being strengthened in response to concern over the Omicron variant. Face coverings are once again compulsory in shops and on public transport and it is vital that the guidelines are followed while people are out shopping in order to keep everyone safe.”

To find out more about the Support Local Christmas campaign, go to: www.chichester.gov.uk/countdowntochristmas