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As new figures reveal 14 per cent of town centre shops today stand empty*, independent opticians across the UK are leading the fight to resuscitate the high streets on which they are located.
On Tuesday June 26 this year, independent opticians will take part in the 'Love My Local' national awareness day to encourage consumers back to town centres to experience the quality and value for money service on offer behind their shop windows.
Paul Surridge, a spokesman for the Eye Love My Local Independent Optician campaign, which has launched the 'Love My Local' day, said: "Not a week goes by without another debate arising about the declining nature of the nation's high streets; yet little action is being taken at a ground level to truly revive what were once bustling community hubs.
"With a large majority of independent opticians located in town centres, they are in a prime position to act now and drive change by engaging with local neighbourhoods, persuading people to look again at what today's high street has to offer."
As part of the 'Love My Local' day in June, independent opticians will open their practices to local communities welcoming people through the door to showcase what sets them apart on the high street. 'Love My Local' day kicks off the launch of Independent Retailer Month, a global "Shop Local" campaign that runs throughout July. Independent Retailer Month highlights the important role smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve, the local economy they contribute to, and in the retail sector as a whole.
Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, UK Lead for Independent Retailer Month said: "It is great that independent opticians are planning to celebrate their contribution to their local high street and local communities. Small independent businesses are key contributors to our communities; adding variety, avoiding clone-towns becoming dominant, and often offering a far more personal service tailored to the needs and wants of the consumers they serve. I am pleased to support the 'Love My Local Day' and I hope that this one-day event can be used as a spring-board for independent optical retailers to then get actively involved with Independent Retailer Month, throughout July, as well."
Paul added: "In a survey on behalf of the Eye Love My Local Independent Optician campaign, 42 per cent of those questioned agreed that an independent optician is a valued and respected member of the local community.
"The research also showed that 44 per cent of those surveyed acknowledged the quality of care and service given by independent opticians.
"It is these distinctive qualities that independent opticians taking part in the 'Love My Local' awareness day will be promoting and encouraging their fellow local retailers to also shout about," Paul concluded.
*Figure taken from Local Data Company
"The atmosphere, range of designer frames and the high levels of service at Wendy Diddams changed the way I viewed going to the opticians. By using an independent I have found that I don’t have to hang around waiting for ages and I also have never had an appointment cancelled since being with Wendy."Naomi Wellman, from Knutsford, patient at Wendy Diddams Optometrist
Eye Love My Local Independent Optician Members
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Eye Love My Local Independent Optician Members: Be part of this nationwide campaign - become a member of Sight Care today!
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