Essex wouldn't be Essex without the local, independent businesses that have been there for generations. Come rain or shine, they've always been there when needed, with a friendly face and a 'Hello! How's the family?' when you walk in the door, as well as the best products the county has to offer in your shopping bag when you walk out.
But times aren't easy for independent businesses. With more and more multinational companies squashing the smaller, family-owned shops we've grown up with, it's an everyday struggle for them to survive.
That's one of the main reasons why we've created The Essex Pass: to help small businesses compete with the bigger boys, and to help you save money by visiting them.
Take Johnston Watches in Leigh. A watch can say a lot about its owner, and Johnston Watches has helped countless people express themselves with exactly the product they were after. It's the personal service that you find at these kinds of local shops, who take the time to really understand the best solution for you, that we want to help thrive.
iTunes, Spotify and illegal downloads have elbowed their way in to change the way most of us listen to music, but who can forget the joy of hearing something playing at the record shop one afternoon that turns out to be the album that changes your life. Luckily you can still have that special moment at Leigh Records Exchange Ltd and share those magic memories with your family and loved ones.
Got a family birthday coming up? Forget those boring, impersonal greetings cards that everyone picks off the shelves at a card superstore. Have a look for something a bit more special at Just For You by Sue. Your loved one will no doubt appreciate the personal touch you get at a shop like this- almost as much as you will when picking it out! In the digital age, where almost everything is available in the palm of your hand, going the extra mile to give the gift of a hand-picked gem can make all the difference.
When you buy from a local business, your money is often then recycled back into the local economy, which means a richer community for everyone. Buying locally also means fewer transport hours and less pollution, so the wildlife and beautiful countryside that brightens up your day won't be spoiled. It even helps create the jobs which one day might provide a solid livelihood for your children- there are just so many reasons why we want to support independent businesses!
So let's get behind them! That distinctive Essex-ness that we all know and love, but can't quite put our finger on comes from the independent businesses that make the county unique - so why not help keep them in business and save yourself a few quid at the same time by popping in to say hello? You can also get great deals at all businesses mentioned and many more with your Essex Pass. Take a look on our website to see what's near you and you can save money and support these businesses at the same time.