Sarah Nicol“Choosing to support an independent business is an act of respect; it’s acknowledging the tremendous risk and challenges inherent to starting your own thing.” - (Matt Kliegman co-founder - The Smile, The Smile To Go, Black Seed Bagels)

It struck me earlier this week that pretty much everything we sell in the gallery is either handmade by an actual person or produced by a small independent business and how proud we should be of that fact.   We are supporting these makers and businesses by stocking and selling their work and products – we are helping someone who has a passion and belief in what they do – striving to make a living for themselves and their families and what a privilege that is for us to help them achieve their dreams!

We’re lucky in Swanage to have a large proportion of small businesses on our “High Street” (well Station Road, Institute Road, Commercial Road and the High Street!) – these shops add character to our town and community – as local shopkeepers we’re part of people’s lives – their loves and losses and their highs and lows.

I believe independents can bring a sense of originality and variety to the town – whether that be through a secret family recipe for chocolate brownies sold in a local café or for us at the gallery, supporting a new artist and launching their work.

In this global economy we are fast going down the route of mass homogenisation (is that a word!) so it’s important for us as communities to look to preserve our independent businesses with their own distinctive characteristics which in turn brings us the economic advantage we need.

I recently saw a post on Instagram which had a photo of a sticker that local independents use in Bridport on a paper bag which read  “We’re a local shop, the money you spend with us makes a difference.  Your money supports our family, our staff and their families and is recycled back into other local businesses which benefits our community….which benefits you!”   What a great idea……and I’d love to do the same here in Swanage/Purbeck

“Support each other. Why do you need a reason to do that besides the fact that it’s the right thing to do?” - Scarr and Los Franco (co-founders - Scarr’s Pizza).