Wooler store gets national profile for ‘shop local’ event

Alison Wright of Gear for Girls
Alison Wright of Gear for Girls

A Wooler business has been highlighted as part of a national campaign to promote small businesses.

Gear for Girls is among just 100 companies across the country, and two in the North East, to be profiled as part of Small Business Saturday, on December 5, which highlights small businesses and encourages consumers to shop local.

Owner Alison Wright said: “I’m really chuffed to have been chosen as one of only two businesses in the North East to be profiled.”

Gear for Girls sells outdoor clothing and sportswear especially for women.

Alison said: “While most outdoor retailers have a small section at the back of the shop for women, we get to fill our whole store with the best walking, cycling, running and climbing clothing designed and made specifically for women. There’s no shrinking and pinking of men’s styles in our store.”

However, it is the dedication to running a high-street store in a small market town together with her efforts to grow the store’s online presence that caught the eye of the top 100 team.

“I think they were looking for a unique business working in a small town and we fitted the bill,” said Alison. “While we have an active presence on the High Street, we rely on our website for 80 per cent to 90 per cent of our sales. We’ve built up a big following of customers through our regular newsletters and social media.

“We hit the 10-year mark this year and we’re looking forward to the next ten years, continuing to grow, expand our brand and category offer and most importantly encourage women to make exercise an important part of their day.”

Despite the growth of web sales, the store’s role in the local community is also important to Alison.

“Small businesses are the backbone of this country,” she said. “We pay our taxes, we collectively employ huge numbers of people and most of us small business owners are good at looking out for our staff.

“My own business employs six local staff helping them to remain living in a rural area.

“Between us we’ve sent 10 children to the local schools – that’s enough for a third of a teacher in an area where pupil numbers are dropping as young people leave and houses are bought as retirement homes.”

To find out more about the event, visit www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com