• As some restrictions are re-introduced, shoppers are urged to ‘support local’

Justine Dwyer


The festive season has got off to a flying start, with retailers reporting a bumper weekend for the first weekend in December and urging the local community to help boost the coffers of small businesses by shopping local.

The city’s main shopping thoroughfare was feeling festive and busy on Saturday as shoppers thronged the centre of town eager to snap up any bargains on offer.

With restrictions still in place, queues formed outside many restaurants and cafés, with owners reporting that staff were “run off their feet”.

The festive fun of Winterval was clearly evident as families strolled around the various attractions making the most of Ireland’s premier Christmas festival.

According to the Local Enterprise Office, which launched its ‘Shop Waterford, Support Local’ campaign, every €10 spent locally on Irish products generates more than €40 of benefit to the local community. Research also shows that Irish consumers are 83% more likely to look local for products and services in 2021.                                                                                                                                                 

WONDERFUL WINTERVAL: Cian and Saoirse Douglas making Christmas cards at Kids Lab-Land at the exciting world of STEAM with CALMAST WIT during Winterval. Photo: Patrick Browne


He added that just because people can and do buy their Christmas gifts online it doesn’t mean they cannot support local businesses. In 2020 the Local Enterprise Offices approved over 13,000 Trading Online Vouchers which enabled small businesses to set up an online trading presence.

Chairman of the Waterford Business Group, Michael Garland, said this week that he didn’t think the people of Waterford needed reminding to shop local this year. “I do think at this stage, particularly due to almost 2 years now of covid restrictions, the good people of Waterford know that shopping local is a no brainer.”

In fact, he said he felt the mantra was wearing a bit thin. “We should not need reminding of this message. Perhaps, we need a wider regional campaign to encourage others to come to Waterford, but that is another day’s work.” 

He continued that most people were aware that our struggling retailers and hospitality businesses, can make over 50% of their annual turnover during the month of December alone.  “And in January and February the real difficulties kick in. It would be too simplistic to say that our businesses now more than ever, need to see people rediscovering their City Centre, their town centre and their local SMEs.”.

Michael added that it takes commitment to keep spending local and for that message to hit home. “We need to see this promise cascading down from the top. Actions always speak louder than words and it would be encouraging to see and hear positive news about our promise to keep it local.”

He concluded by saying there was of course a responsibility for Waterford’s core businesses to make their customers’ Christmas shopping the best it can be. “So, seek out the shops, businesses, retailers, pubs, restaurants etc. that go that extra mile to make your festive shopping a brilliant, wonderful, joyous and memorable experience.”