The public is being encouraged to use their local arch businesses in August as part of a #loveyourlocalarches campaign to help those small businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign will run throughout August, culminating in an Arch Day on 29 August 2020. It aims to increase the visibility of railway arch businesses within their communities and increase footfall to help thousands of small companies to recover from the pandemic and its impacts. Recent FSB research suggests that more people than ever are keen to shop local, with 63p of every £1 spent in a small business remaining in the local economy.
Working with Network Rail and Transport for London, The Arch Company hopes the campaign will encourage more tourists and local people to visit their local arches – where they can shop at the bakeries, breweries and butchers; drink or dine out at the bars and restaurants; have a makeover at the hairdressers and beauty salons; or have their vehicles repaired at their local mechanics. The majority of businesses located in railway arches are small independent traders – The Arch Company’s data shows that more than two thirds have five employees or fewer.
Among the businesses already signed up for the campaign is Hiver, an artisan brewery and taproom located in Stanworth Street, along the famous Bermondsey Beer Mile. Founder, Hannah Rhodes, said: “When the lockdown started our sales dropped dramatically overnight and we had to shut our taproom. Now that we’re reopening, we’ve had fantastic support from local people, who have enjoyed relaxing and shopping in Arch businesses like ours, but we’ve missed the tourists from further afield, who would usually shop at the local food markets and then stop off for a pint at our taproom.
“While the easing of lockdown has given us some light at the end of the tunnel, what we don’t have at the moment is the bandwidth to run a big marketing drive to reach out to people and enthuse them about supporting our business. That’s where ‘love your local arches’ can really make a difference. It joins the dots and helps us to reconnect with people, so they know we’re here and that by shopping with us or coming out to relax and have fun at our taproom they are really making a difference to small businesses like ours, that are based in their local railway arches.”
Many small businesses operating out of railway arches in England and Wales have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, their landlord, The Arch Company, has provided a multi-million-pound support package to help as many of them as possible to survive.
For more information about the campaign follow the #loveyourlocalarches and #archday2020 activities on Twitter and Facebook @thearchcompany or Instagram @the_archcompany.