CLA Cymru supports rural small businesses 365 days per year, but Small Business Saturday (2 December 2023) offers a special opportunity to highlight the vitally important role thousands of small businesses have in the economy – and today we can shop in the countryside by shopping online!
Derek Keeble from CLA Cymru, the organisation that represents a wide range of rural small businesses in food preparation and retail, hospitality, visitor attractions, amenities and services says, “Small businesses are not only the powerhouse of the rural economy, but they’re vital for the countryside community.”
Today online shopping offers us a massive choice of products and services. The internet has created an explosion of consumer choice enabling consumers to buy unusual, regionally specific or specialised products and services. You don’t have to go to Wales to buy specialist Welsh cheese, charcuterie, cakes, chocolate. For the consumer it makes good practical sense to shop locally. Local businesses and independent retailers are likely to be locally supplied.
Food products can be fresher, last longer, contain fewer preservatives and contain fewer food-miles – meaning that their carbon footprint doesn’t include long delivery journeys. Equally, many rural small businesses provide unique and creative gifts: garments, natural cosmetics, carved goods, love-spoons and slate-products – or unique experiences like riding, climbing, bouldering, cycling or paddle-sports.”
Many small businesses are diversifications from farm businesses playing a critical role in sustaining farm incomes when farm-costs and so high and farm-profits are low. All these businesses provide vital employment for local people when transport to nearby towns is expensive and public transport is irregular.
Three rural small businesses to look up:-
Established within a walled garden in Monmouthshire, Wales’ only perfumery has been established for over 5 years, created and managed by a sole trader with an expert background in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and experience in the fragrance industry in France, Italy and London. The business produces a specialist range of four fragrances, each named in Welsh reflecting their character: Coedwig (Forest), Gwlad (country), Arfordir (coast), and Seren (star). Customers can book onto bespoke courses to design their own fragrance. This can be individually, in couples or as a group. The Wales Perfumery also produces a range of scented candles. Find out more via the website: www.walesperfumery.com
Cwt Gafr - Sebon Llaeth Gafr, The Goat Hut – Goat Milk Soap
Grown from a smallholding on the Lleyn Peninsular in North Wales, this business produces a range of natural skin-care products suitable for those with sensitive skin, eczema and psoriasis. The products are free from palm oil and plastic packaging. These include a range of goat milk soaps, shampoo bars, shaving creams and moisturising lotions. Goat milk is known for its creamy texture and rich flavour and is remarkably versatile not only as a nutritious beverage, but for centuries has also been used for traditional medical treatments and cleansing. Find out more via their website: www.cwtgafr.co.uk
Bodnant Welsh Food
A family-run farm shop in the Conwy Valley, this business sells a wide selection of products from local suppliers and beyond. The award-winning shop is brimming with artisan bread, local meat, fine cheeses and more... Customers who visit can also dine in one of their restaurants, stay in the accommodation or even take part in workshops in their cookery school. However, Bodnant Welsh Food also manages an online Christmas store, offering a range of festive products, gift hampers and treats. Find out more via their website: www.bodnant-welshfood.co.uk