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Small Business Saturday is a hit in Burton

Thanks to the people – and the small businesses – of Burton who embraced our #BuckieLovesSmallBiz tour on Small Business Saturday (Dec 2, 2017).

We had a fantastic day touring the streets of the town centre with the mischievous Buckie who showed his love for small, independent businesses.

Paul and Louise WalkerThe tour started at Langan’s Tea Rooms at 9.30am , where we were greeted by East Staffordshire Borough Councillor Paul Walker and his wife Louise.

Buckie, who found his feet thanks to Red Door Studio’s  Tilley Bancroft and fellow puppeteer Ian Whittle, then started his walkabout around the town centre.

The next stop for Buckie and his entourage, who included filmmaker Jo Foster from Lumina Studios and social media consultant Elaine Pritchard, was Pete Oakley’s guitar superstore.Pete Oakley's guitar superstore

It was great to watch Buckie rocking out when Pete played one of his favourite guitars. Buckie had a go himself – but it really wasn’t music to anyone’s ears.

Pete’s store has been a popular destination for music lovers since 1992, but Buckie’s next stop was a business that only opened in 2017. It was the Calm Yoga Studio, where Buckie and his friends tied themselves in knots at a family yoga class.

Buckie at Ahoy Sailor Vintage clothingCatching their breath after their contortions, the next stop was Ahoy Sailor Vintage. This great little business originally opened in the Burton Market Hall and moved to the Octagon Centre when the hall was closed for refurbishment. Now it has a great spot on the High Street and sells online as well as in the store. Buckie browsed and took a shine to a red feather boa and a jaunty hat, but in the end he decided to leave them with shop owner Natalie.

Next it was a coffee and a mince pie, a few doors away at Cafe B. Buckie spotted that they offer families the chance to post a letter to Santa, which the kind staff at Cafe B will forward to the great man himself and promise to get you a reply.

Suitably refreshed, the tour moved on to the Abbey Arcade to visit another established, independent business, H J Richards & Son, jewellers. Buckie is a bit of a magpie and his eye was soon caught by the array of modern and vintage jewellery and gifts. Having worked up an appetite, it was now time for lunch at Helen’s Bakehouse and Tearooms.

Buckie at Helen's Bakehouse and TearoomsHelen is another local business success story. She braved some 13 years, working from a stall in all weathers, on Burton’s outdoor market before progressing to her own cafe with its open kitchen at the heart of the building.

After lunch the tour headed to the Market Hall which was hosting a Christmas craft fair. Buckie had a good look at all the wares on offer, while his entourage gave out flyers explaining what Small Business Saturday was all about. The flyers – and the Tshirts the team wore all day – were provided by the tour’s main sponsor, local printing company Zero Gravitee.

Upstairs at the market hall, Buckie found a children’s party in full swing at The Kandy Factory, and fell a little bit in love with the party’s special guest, Rapunzel from Primmy’s Princess Parties. He also joined in with the carol singers on the balcony.

The afternoon continued with a visit to the Why Not Gallery – another great spot to find unusual and quirky gifts and fantastic greetings cards.

Next it was a quick stop for refreshments at The Hideaway on Station Street, where Buckie had a visit from Monica Dunbar who had been in the Octagon Centre with her Datties Caribbean Soul Food business. Monica also founded Burton charity the LoveInspire Foundation.

Last, but not least, it was the Alphabet Gift Shop and Cafe where Buckie found more friends keen to have a selfie taken with him.
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The national Small Business Saturday team, the Burton Mail and Staffordshire County Council have supported us with articles, tweets and lots of ‘shares’ on social media.

You can read coverage of Small Business Saturday, including the #BuckieLovesSmallBiz tour, here on the Burton Mail’s website.

Tilley said:””We had a fantastic day. The businesses welcomed Buckie with open arms, even though he was a bit cheeky and mischievous at times. We got a great reaction on the streets from shoppers and it was a day full of laughter.

“We’re currently editing a video of the day which we’ll be releasing later this week so keep searching for the hashtag #BuckieLovesSmallBiz on social media. We’re planning to keep the spirit of Small Business Saturday going all-year round in Burton-on-Trent.”

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