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4,000 shoppers join online market for local small business

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More than 4,000 people have signed up to a Facebook Christmas Market organised to help local businesses affected by the latest COVID lockdown measures. The market, organised by Pateley Bridge resident Tiffany Snowden, currently features more than 100 shops and small businesses from the Harrogate district, many of whom have been forced to close as a result of the tightened restrictions introduced on 5th November.

The group was set up on Monday 26th October as a way to connect local businesses and Christmas shoppers unable to visit traditional Christmas markets because of the COVID lockdown, and quickly gained more than 300 members in the first 24 hours. Following promotion in local media and spread by word of mouth into similar groups, the market reached 1,000 members by the end of the week and 3,000 by the beginning of November.

The founder, Tiffany Snowden, is an archaeologist working in the local area and set up the group in her spare time because she was unable to book the Christmas markets at which she usually sells her art. The success of the group has also caught her by surprise, as well as the enthusiasm for local crafts.

Tiffany said: “I’m absolutely blown away by the number of shoppers and local businesses who have joined the group, and it’s amazing to see how much business they have been able to do already. Many of the businesses who have signed up so far were started during lockdown, so for them this is their first big chance to get in front of the general public.

“We have businesses of all kinds and of all sizes in the group, from people selling traditional art and crafts to people selling vouchers for experiences and services. Without the Christmas Markets this year many of the businesses on the page have lost a huge chunk of their potential business, so I’m just pleased to be able to help them get as much of that back as possible.”

The Harrogate Virtual Christmas Market 2020 can be found on Facebook and is accepting applications from shoppers and local businesses throughout November and December. Entry is free for shoppers, and businesses pay a one off charge of £5 to cover the cost of advertising the group on the platform.

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