Our independents are back. Let’s keep it that way.

You’ve savoured that first pint, sat back in your favourite spot, remembered how amazing it is to get your tea cooked for you. It’s been incredible to see so many of our favourite independents throw open their doors and welcome us back with open (socially distanced) arms.

So job done. Indies saved. Life goes on.

But it’s not that simple. The green shoots are there, but our independent businesses need your support more than ever.

Some have already fallen by the wayside. Many are fighting to stay open. Most are finding the adjustment pretty hard. It’s going to be tough for people to keep businesses afloat that they’ve poured their heart, soul and savings into.

To keep the places open that make your weekdays bearable, make your weekends incredible and make you proud to show off the city to those from out of town. The independent spaces where we eat, we meet, and we shop, where we get our culture fix and our much-needed headspace are important to us and they are the lifeblood of the city.

We caught up with a couple of the faces behind your favourite places, to see how they are getting on:

Natalie Haywood from LEAF had this to say:

“It is now more important than ever to encourage customers back to our venues, where they can enjoy a dining experience in a relaxed yet safe environment.  We’re delighted to be a part of the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme on Monday-Wednesdays in August, and we hope this will be a great opportunity for our customers to support us and our fellow independent businesses over the summer”

Matt Farrell from Graffiti Spirits said this:

“Re-opening is just the first step for many but it doesn’t mean anything if no one goes and visits. It’s never been more critical to support your local independent and put into action the endorsement that is so often vocal on social channels. They are in truth the cultural banks of your society and bring the uniqueness and creativity from local talents. they represent the fabric of your society.This is a tough time for everybody sure but there must be positives through adversity. It’s food for thought before putting your money into the economy and thinking local and we can all pay our part.”

Candice Fonseca, from Delifonseca had this to say:

“The pandemic has given us a pause to think how the ‘price’ of things is not the same as the ‘cost’. Whether that cost is to the environment, the local economy, the look and variety of the high street. I am hoping that customers realise that independent businesses provide so much more than goods/services at a price. They are part of the city’s fabric and personality and help to make Liverpool the unique place it is. Ever the optimist, I am hoping that more people share my view and will spend their money wisely at the great range of independent businesses that Liverpool has.”

Kim and Keeley from Coffee & Fandisha said this:

“In the 6 years of being in business, we’re confident in saying that we have never been presented with such challenging times- our tenacity and ability to adapt is being tested on many levels!

We are forever grateful to the Fandisha Community for their loyalty and support. Nonetheless, it is important that we express our concerns that come with being a small independent situated in the Baltic Triangle- a neighbourhood which has somewhat been seen as less of a priority than other parts of Liverpool’s city centre.”

Sarah Ogle, from Everyman & Playhouse said this:

“Unfortunately we are still closed, awaiting more government guidance, seeing how the industry test events are going and scenario planning like crazy!

Since we closed in March we’ve been working to take care as much as we can of our freelance artists, our communities and young people. For example our work with Mersey Care Life Rooms  and with Young Everyman Playhouse (YEP) all moved online and we’re working with a freelance task force on a local and national level. We didn’t have pre-recorder content like many theatres, but did create some digital projects such as Love, Liverpool (a podcast series of love letters to the city with contributions from local artists and the public),  EveryPlayTime (a series of resources to support home schooling) and we’re currently sharing YEP’s The Visit (a radio drama they created entirely during lockdown).

It’s wonderful to see so much of the city starting to open up again, but socially distanced theatre is tricky from a financial, physical and experience perspective so we anticipate our public re-opening will be a while off.”

Marcel Vormawah Jones, PT and huge figurehead in the fitness sector in Liverpool said this:

“With gyms finally able to reopen their doors, the atmosphere has been like never before. Every casual gym goer is there in force, every long standing member is grateful to be back and there’s even a massive influx of those who would always be “starting soon” getting in everyday. Much more than just lifting weights, the community of like minded lifters is back together, and rightfully so given we had to wait a whole month longer than bars. This is our socialising and the mental state of so many is now once again on the up. One thing I’ve realised is that so many of us have genuinely missed each other, something that just doesnt happen in a large chain gym. We’ve all grown to know and respect each other and we’re all a part of each others weekly routine. Despite the upsurge in positivity however there is always the threat of this “supposed second wave” that could essentially reduce us once again to closing our doors. Given were more financially stable than some others, we may survive

But for some gyms, this may mean final closure. The large chain gyms do not face this threat however with their guaranteed financial backing and strict direct debit policies from thousands of sometimes even unaware members. If you truly want to get the most out of your gym experience and become a better you in these uncertain times, that “funny looking, dodgy back street gym” may just be able to help you out far more than you realise socially, mentally and physically. Local independent gyms right now are a thriving community right now and are vital so let’s ensure we keep supporting them and keep them alive. Who knows, you may even just discover a new version of yourself.”
Janine from Soul Cafe had this to say:

“It’s been very busy since we re-opened but obviously it’s been a kind of “honeymoon” period! So we need to still encourage people to support the independents more than ever. We’re safe with more Post-Covid procedures in place than we need but we want customers to feel safe as well as enjoying their experience with us.”

So this is a rally cry to get out there and show our independents some love. To keep the doors open, our streets alive and get back to having a good time. Here’s our mantra for helping them thrive.

Show up

It’s pretty simple – if you book a table, show up. Or if something comes up, let them know you can’t make it. If you don’t you could be costing that business money, and they might not be there the next time.

Listen up

Things seem to change on a daily basis, the rules can be confusing and businesses are doing their best to adapt. So mask-up if you need to, give a deposit if you’re asked to (you’re going to show up and spend that money anyway…) and take time to listen to the reasons why.

Build up

If you’ve had a good experience share it. If people are doing a great job tell them. If you can’t get in somewhere don’t kick off and if something isn’t quite right just have a quiet word rather than ranting on socials. We’re in this together, show some support.

Love Your Liverpool

Summer isn’t cancelled. It’s just different. This summer let’s explore what’s closer to home and try become a tourist in your own city. Whether it be attractions or food, cocktails or museums. It’s time to fall in love with Liverpool… all over again.

For more information on how to Love Your Liverpool check out VisitLiverpool.