By Corinne Yeadon, Being Better
The multitude and variety of independent shops, services and restaurants in Skipton are appealing to visitors and crucial in creating the town’s identity as a happy and welcoming place.
Skipton is not home to a raft of faceless organisations or corporations, each business represents the individual or family that has made their dream and vision a reality. The popularity of Skipton both to live and visit is the combination of unique businesses and the individual personalities that are at the forefront. There is genuine enthusiasm and pride attached to the products and services available. There is literally something for everyone, whatever the preference. The warmth of Skipton sets it apart, the fact that you can buy anything from a basket to a composting toilet and interact with a friendly face is what ensures a positive experience. The benefits of supporting an independent, with the knowledge that it makes a difference cannot fail to instil a sense of wellbeing.
As a small business owner in Skipton, we were and continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity and support shown to us by other business owners and the wider community.
One of the key elements to the success of independent businesses in Skipton is the positive value set amongst the business community. There exists an authentic desire for businesses to flourish and succeed. There are many networking groups online and in person, offering support and opportunities. There is an ethos of collaborating instead of competing and where this is not possible, there is proactivity in promoting, signposting and recommending other businesses.
A trip to Skipton is top of the tree for my grandchildren, not just for the woods, the exciting, original gift shops or fabulous eateries. The biggest draw for them are the greetings along the way and the interactions with people. My eldest grandchild is awestruck and never fails to comment that, “people in Skipton are actually happy!” A saunter up the High Street never fails to clear the custard and instil a sense of wellbeing, whatever the weather.
COVID-19 has drastically altered the business landscape, but the resilience and ability to respond to this ever-changing climate is evident. Yoga classes by zoom, restaurants providing takeaways, all kinds of therapy by telephone or video and products for sale online. During lockdown, the social media shout outs to businesses who have adapted and supported people through this challenging time have been golden. The businesses providing personalised and unique gifts for absent loved ones have been a blessing. Displays of unity and random acts of kindness have made an unthinkable time not just bearable but have helped to boost morale.
Changes are afoot to make the local environment as safe as possible, this is a unique situation, a path never trodden before. Everyone is learning and doing the best they can with the information, sometimes ambiguous, they are given. Mistakes will be made but will be well-intentioned. If any town can ride this storm and come out of the other end even more magnificent, I am confident that Skipton can.