Online hub launched for Argyll business

Kirsten Henderson - 'We simply want to make it easier for people to support local first'.

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Shopping locally has become one of the key messages in the pandemic – but now two Argyll entrepreneurs have come up with a practical way of helping Argyll businesses in tough economic times.

Frustrated by the negative impacts of coronavirus on small Argyll businesses, Kirsten Henderson from Lochgilphead and Oliver Windham-Wright, originally from Oban, joined forces during lockdown to create a simple solution.

Together, Kirsten and Oliver created Market Argyll, launching it earlier this month.

The online marketplace lets business owners set up their online market stalls so that potential customers can explore what’s on offer, search for what they are after and be directed straight to an appropriate business to support and spend.

Kirstin said: ‘We are weathering a time when our high streets and small businesses are struggling, yet large corporations are thriving.

‘People are recalling the days when communities would come together and collaborate.’

Rather than viewing the pandemic as the final nail in the coffin of small businesses, Kirsten, aged 31 and 37-year-old Oliver viewed it as an opportunity for innovation.

Market Argyll aims to make it simple for businesses to increase their visibility and reach a wider audience, and for the people of Argyll to find what they are looking for and support local businesses.

Search results can be filtered by keywords, business categories and regions of Argyll.

With big plans for the future, Kirsten and Oliver hope to offer additional services and support to small businesses. Nearer the spring they will launch a new feature to allow customers to shop and spend directly on the marketplace platform.

Kirsten continued: ‘When we spend in locally-owned, independent businesses rather than big chains or online giants a higher percentage of that spend stays within the area to boost the local economy.

‘Argyll is a rich tapestry of talent with a highly entrepreneurial spirit, and small businesses not only provide us with experiences that make Argyll a better place to live, they also provide jobs and opportunities.

‘We simply want to make it easier for people to support local first, by bringing everything Argyll has to offer all in one place. From retailers to restaurants, wellbeing practitioners to tradesmen, food and drink producers to artists and craftspeople…there’s a space for everyone.

‘I’m really looking forward to discovering new businesses, products and services that are not already on my radar or doorstep.’

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The first 25 businesses registering with Market Argyll before February 28 can take advantage of an introductory offer of 50 per cent off membership by using discount code SUPPORTLOCAL2021.