New app launched to champion local independent businesses
- Credit: Archant
Independent shops in Breckland are fighting back against the national chains in an attempt to entice people back to their local high street.
More than 100 shops from the district's five market towns have joined an initiative which allows people to browse and buy online from local stores.
It is hoped ShopAppy - both an iOS and Android app and website - will encourage more people to visit their high street and realise the range of shops on offer.
Backed by Breckland Council, the project has been rolled out in Swaffham, Thetford, Dereham, Watton and Attleborough.
Keith and Sandra Sandle, who own the Swaffham board game shop Henchmans, have praised the initiative.
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Mr Sandle, who is the town's ShopAppy champion, said: 'For us it is all about a vibrant town. The more footfall the better and that is key.
'It is an online thing but the online interest delivers the footfall. It is giving us a broader range of exposure.'
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Shoppers are able to order their items and can then collect from either the shop itself or a designated collection point.
ShopAppy was launched by Jackie Mulligan in Yorkshire in 2016 and is now in 12 of the county's towns.
Dr Mulligan, who was speaking at the launch in Swaffham, said: 'We are fighting against a tide which is making people think they should shop using deliveries. Town's have started to lose their character.
'We wanted to address this and make it easier for people. The biggest impact ShopAppy has is first of all making people realise there are great shops and thriving businesses in their town.
'If everything is in one place that is the convenience everyone is looking for.'
William Nunn, Breckland Council leader, said he hoped ShopAppy could help stop the decline of the high street and make town centres the 'hub of the community'.
Kay Wells has owned the Market Cross cafe in Swaffham for 10 years.
'It is about getting people to think about supporting their local communities rather than national brands,' she said.
'We have so much in the town but people don't know it is there.'
For more information about ShopAppy and to use it visit www.shopappy.com or download the app.