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'Keep Audlem Alive' is the call from Audlem Traders

12th May 2006 @ 12:12pm – by Audlem Webteam
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(The website link that was here no longer works) At last night's Annual Village Meeting in the Public Hall, residents heard an excellent talk by Andrew Smith of the Post Office about the recent formation of the Audlem Village Traders' Association or AVTA. He described how small businesses were under threat from the ever-increasing domination of the supermarkets and what local people could do to help retain the businesses that are so important to the village's character and future.

The traders have adopted the slogan 'Keep Audlem Alive'. Andrew described what local people could do to make that slogan a reality. He said that if every household, and there are around 1,000 in the area, could transfer £5 a week of their spending from the supermarkets to local shops, this would generate £5,000 a week, or a whopping £250,000 a year to the local economy. A figure like that would be absolutely vital to the success of our local businesses.

Andrew described how, in the 1920's, the village supported 27 shops. Most, including both garages in recent years, have been forced to close and others such as the newsagents were having to cope with additional costs imposed by the wholesalers on to small businesses. The Post Office itself would suffer if the Post Office card account scheme is closed, as threatened by the Government, in 2010. There is a petition in the Post Office that residents can sign and local MP Stephen O'Brien said last week when he met AVTA representatives that he would deliver that petition to the Government.

Andrew concluded his talk by saying he was alarmed a few years ago when he read a newspaper story about Audlem, indeed it was after an armed raid on his Post Office, which described the village as 'sleepy'. He said the village had proved with its recent awards just how vibrant it is. But we have to work to protect our local village shops and businesses. If not, he said, future descriptions could well say we are 'dormant'. We all have to do our bit to avoid that fate.


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