Budget: Cardiff’s independent businesses survive economic challenges

Independent businesses in Cardiff have beaten current economic uncertainties through their online storefronts and community.

Despite financial issues suffered by the general public due to the cost of living crisis and todays spring budget announcement from the chancellor of the exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, independent businesses in Cardiff believe that the community they foster and a greater online presence has and will continue to buoy their sales.

The recent closures of The Arcade Vaults and Jon Ian, a retro gaming themed bar and well known boutique respectively, has sparked questions regarding the future of smaller stores within Cardiff’s famous arcades and market.

 Olly James, retail advisor at Over Seas Apparel in the Royal Arcade, thinks that despite the closure of some of their neighbours, a strong community both instore and online will keep them afloat for the long term.

He said: “A few companies have been closing down or moving because of the prices but for us because our community is so solid and we’ve got a big network online with social media, I think we’ll be fine for the next ten to twenty years.”

The footfall that Over Seas Apparel receives each week is a point of pride for Olly, with hundreds coming into the store each week.

He said: “On a week day I’d say approximately 50 to 60 people come into the store, and the weekends we see around 200 to 300 people coming in and buying or browsing.”

Kellys Records, a music store founded in 1969 and located in Cardiff Market, has seen the highs and lows of business in Cardiff. Russell Milton, manager at Kellys Records, put emphasis on the use of online to attract record aficionado’s to the store.

“Were an independent, were in the market, were upstairs in the balcony so were not particularly visible but because of what we are and the way the world works, your shop window is in your phone. So we place an importance in our website and making us look like a destination for hobbyists.” Said Milton.

He also judged recent demographic shifts and the more food orientated direction the market has shifted to as reasons to why the business has enjoyed as much success as it does now.

He said: “Maybe ten years ago it was just middle aged blokes buying prog rock, which is fine but recently it has just expanded and because of streaming services there not risk, people know what they’re buying”

“What happening in the market now is its becoming a destination for food, which is very trendy, so that is great and increases footfall for us now”.

Russell Milton believes Kellys Records has the right location and community to stay in business.

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