Be part of our campaign to help local businesses bounce back from lockdown


People across Staffordshire have backed The Sentinel and StokeonTrentLive’s new #IAmOpen campaign to support businesses impacted by the coronavirus lockdown.

Lisa Beard, who owns The Beauty Loft in Stone, said: “Initiatives like this are so helpful to small businesses like mine as it let’s people know that we’re still here for them.

“I decided to close my salon a few days before we were instructed to do so by the UK Government so I’ve been closed for nine weeks. But I’ve managed to maintain a steady income stream by providing skincare deliveries to clients, offering free virtual skin consultations, putting together an online selfcare skincare class which groups of friends can join in order to give themselves an ‘at home’ facial using products selected and provided by me to treat their main skin concerns.

“I have also been doing lots of Facebook live videos giving skincare advice and answering questions and have started a Facebook Group called SKINspiration Stone which anyone can join to ask for advice and support with their skin concerns. I’m excited to re-open and start the next chapter in my business.”

Tim Griffin, owner of The Quirky Emporium based at Stafford’s Colonnade, said “I closed the day before lockdown was announced as people had more important things on their minds than shopping.

“I spent the first four weeks building a website and as the lockdown has eased I’ve been able to open for socially distanced collections by appointment only.

“I think the campaign is a great idea, every business is struggling in their own way so raising awareness of the ones that are open can only help.”

Business owners have been left assessing exactly how much damage the virus pandemic will cause long-term. We have launched the #IAmOpen campaign to support them and to let them know that they are not alone during these difficult times.

We will hold regular a regular #IAmOpen hour on Twitter where we will retweet businesses from the StokeonTrentLive Twitter account directly to our 82,500 followers – for free.

During that hour all that businesses need to do is tweet our @Sotlive account with a photograph standing outside or inside the business with an #IAmOpen sign, also including the hashtag #IAmOpen in the tweet.

We want to make sure that the people of North Staffordshire know that businesses are open and to let them see the friendly faces that will be ready to welcome them through the door.

Martin Tideswell, Editor-in-Chief of The Sentinel and StokeonTrentLive, said: “We know that many businesses across Stoke-on-Trent and the wider North Staffordshire area are struggling during these very unusual and unprecedented times and we want to help.

“Supporting the communities we serve and the businesses within them is incredibly important to us, it’s a key part of what makes us #localandproud. We stage the annual Sentinel Business Awards, have a weekly business section in-paper and we run Shop Local articles to encourage shoppers to support independent businesses.

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“Now we’re going one step further with #IAmOpen, which we hope will be of real benefit in the coming weeks and months. Not only can local businesses use our platform to tell the people of North Staffordshire they are open, but our readers can learn more about companies in their local area.”

Restaurants offering collection or delivery can add the details to our InYourArea site here to let potential customers know about the services they’re offering.

The Sentinel and StokeonTrentLive are also offering a raft of offers and incentives to help support businesses including free webinars, the creation of free landing pages and free online marketing health checks. Anyone who would like to find out more is asked to contact the commercial team at wendy.wilson@reachplc.com

Businesses who would like to be included in an article about #IAmOpen should email jennifer.amphlett@reachplc.com with 100 words about their plans plus a photograph.





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