Fylde coast MPs from opposing parties teamed up to champion the wide variety of small businesses for Small Business Saturday – an initiative that is now in its fourth year in the UK.
Blackpool South Labour MP Gordon Marsden and Fylde Conservative MP Mark Menzies toured the area visiting some of the small family firms and independent retail businesses keeping our high streets alive.
As Shadow Skills Minister, Gordon who was also once part of Chuka Umunna’s team, who was instrumental in bringing the initiative over to the UK, Small Business Saturday has always been a key date in his diary.
With Small Business Saturday having cross-party support, he started the day with his parliamentary neighbour Mark Menzies for breakfast at Dahlia’s Kitchen – a coffee shop and restaurant on the boundary between the Fylde and Blackpool South constituencies. There they had a traditional English Breakfast with Shaun Pickup, who has been running the business for the past five years.
Gordon said: “I was pleased to hear about how Dahlia’s Kitchen is going from strength to strength and the recent success they have enjoyed with some of their award winning food, including some of their own sausages we had with our breakfast.
“Working with Shaun on Blackpool Pride, I have always known him to be very community minded and someone who is passionate about the Fylde Coast area.”
Mark said: “Shaun built a small business up into a great cafe and produce shop. They sell locally-produced and Lancashire-wide produce.”
Gordon along with Labour councillors Peter Hunter and Alistair Humphreys, then met Danielle and Joe Yates, who run Montagues on Highfield Road.
It was the second successive Small Business Saturday, he had met the couple, who in just over a year of opening have already had award winning success with Danielle earning an Enterprise Vision Award.
Gordon said: “Montagues is again another example of a community minded restaurant and bar, and a year after opening, it is firmly established.
“When I walk from my office to my flat, it is always busy with customers and it’s no surprise to see the recognition they are receiving.”
Over the past few years Gordon has also worked closely with Geoff Reeves and Councillor Mark Smith, in Blackpool Council’s Enterprise and Economic Development team.
Geoff showed both Gordon and Mark around some of the businesses that had more recently been supported by Get Started, including Tanya’s Nails and Beauty, Labyrinth Spiritual Gifts, the Polo Market and finally Beauticology – all of which are in South Shore.
Mark Menzies said: “From Dahlia’s I went to the Fat Cat Club in Lytham where I met owner Debbie, two hairdressers and her son, who is an apprentice - another reason why small businesses are so important.
“We should be using our small businesses as much as we can. I also visited Margaret’s florist in St Annes and the new Amber cafe next door, where I met the family behind the business. It’s great to see people coming to St Annes and opening a business, putting their faith in the town.
“We should repay that by shopping close to home and it is important we buy our Christmas presents locally, rather than off the internet or from big national chains.”
whenever we can. In fact, it’s important we do that throughout the year, to help sustain local jobs on our high streets.”