If you've seen the news recently you will have noticed that many retailers have been experiencing significant pressures. These pressures are extremely serious, they have been with us for a long time, and they cannot be resisted forever. Whilst the headlines are all about the big high street names, smaller independent shops - like us - are not immune.

This is why we're supporting Chester's "Love Local" campaign this summer. If you shop in one of Chester's participating independent shops you can enter a draw to win up to £250 in vouchers (terms apply, etc - you know the drill).

Small independent shops are the life blood of a vibrant and attractive high street. Spend in one and you are supporting a hard-working local family with a passion rather than anonymous shareholders and a CEO with a dream house and a dream car. In most independents you will find knowledgeable and helpful staff who will take time to understand your requirements and/or have a friendly chat while you browse.

So, this weekend why not pop out and make a purchase in one of your local independent shops - it might be our galleries in Betws-y-coed or Chester, or one of the many other fantastic independents in North Wales & Cheshire, or somewhere closer to home if you're reading this from afar. If the call of the World Cup or a sunny garden is too great, you can always pick up your tablet and visit the website of your favourite independent - nowadays most of us offer mobile-friendly e-commerce so that special and unique item you've been thinking about can be delivered to your door.

We all like to browse the quirky and unique independents in our towns and villages, and a purchase - no matter how small - will help to ensure that your favourite shop will still be there next time.

Thank you,
Alison & Jon.