Not a very inspiring title? Here’s the thing…
Hebden Bridge is an awesome little town. But like all little towns it’s fighting its battles. There’s the traffic (flood prevention works continue to strangle us). There’s the parking. There’s the rail strikes. Like all small towns – actually even big cities – the high street is struggling to compete with the internet. Folks venture into the shops to try clothes or shoes on, or look at a book, and then walk away and order it cheaper online. It’s not just my local bookshop The Bookcase, but even in a big Waterstones; people are very blatant about it. People love to shop. The towns and the cities are full of shoppers. But you have to note the increasing number of empty shops; little ones in Hebden Bridge. HUGE ones in Manchester and Leeds. Can people not see that eventually there will only be Amazon? And then we won’t venture out, because there will be no where to venture out to. And we won’t see anyone anymore!
Perhaps I’m being over dramatic. Perhaps…
But then the beautiful, glowing, winter haven that is Radiance Hebden Bridge’s beautiful Lighting boutique is closing for good in January.
I try, as far as possible, to think local for my business. My framer, Vince at Abacus, is up the road in Mytholmroyd. My print maker, Rob at Knight Graphics, is in Sowerby Bridge. We cut the lanterns at The laser Hive, up the hill. I don’t source stuff cheap from overseas! They all do a brilliant job for me, and in return they value my custom. It’s a two way thing.
When we send stuff out from the studio we trolly it up the road to the Post Office. I think I’m a bit old fashioned like this, but I like my Post Office. They’re nice in there!
Lorraine and Christine are also lovely, but more camera shy, so i can’t put them up here.
When I went in the other day it was suspiciously quiet, which worried me. Apparently people, and local businesses, are using them less, opting instead for Royal Mail contracts (which is not the same thing!), or a courier like My Hermes or Yodel. Amazon do label-less returns now, from the Royal Mail sorting office, not the Post Office. But the Post Office is so much more important in my community. Like many small towns we’ve lost our high street banks (Lloyds, the last to go, will close early next year), so we rely on the Post Office to do our banking. For them it’s a lot of administration, for very little return, but they’re mopping up the town’s needs as the big corporations disappear. Lots of towns – even quite big places like Halifax, have lost their Post Offices to operate as a side line in WH Smiths. WH Smiths aren’t doing so well lately, so if they go too – what then?
So I just want to say USE YOUR POST OFFICE. Use it, or lose it – and then, as a community, we’re a bit stuffed….
So, when you order a print or a lantern from me, I’m just passing on the actual postage costs. I don’t have a contract with a courier, and I’m not going to get one. If something is cheap – too cheap – someone somewhere is paying for it, even if it isn’t you. I’m supporting my post office.