There is no disputing it, 2022 has been a tough year for business owners, and things continue to be difficult.
However, if I was asked to summarise how things have been so far this year, I would use the phrase 'better than expected'.
In our shop we experienced a welcome influx of visitors from all over the world, in particular from North America and the Southern Hemisphere.
Buoyed by favourable exchange rates, they were very willing to splash out in local businesses in Byres Road and the Lanes.
One couple from the USA bought Christmas gifts for the employees at their business – in August! Anything with a ‘heilan coo’ on it was particularly popular.
It was also gratifying to see the fruit of the Scotland Loves Local campaign, encouraging local people to support local businesses, which so many of you have taken to heart.
I have lost count of the number of times my wife and I have received warm words of kindness and support from so many of our customers. It is difficult to put into words how much that means to us.
On behalf of all of the businesses in Byres Road and the Lanes, thank you so much, and please don’t stop.
This year’s Christmas celebrations on Byres Road will kick off with the now traditional Christmas Market on Vinicombe Street on Sunday November 27, with market stalls, musical entertainment and the lighting up of the Christmas tree at 5.30pm.
There will be entertainment as well throughout the day in Ashton, Cresswell and Ruthven Lanes.
For the third year running, the Byres Road & Lanes Business Improvement District is partnering with Social Bite’s Festival of Kindness.
They will be collecting gifts and donations for Christmas meals for the homeless at their stall under the tree from Nov-ember 25 until December 22.
If you are part of a local church or school choir, or other singing group, I would like to invite you to come and sing carols around the tree in the run up to Christmas.
We ask that you contact the Byres Road BID office on email@example.com we can confirm a convenient time and date and make sure that groups don’t all turn up at the same time!
All we request is that you keep the main pavement and the access to Vinicombe Street clear of obstruction.
As I said earlier, these are tough and challenging times for all of us, but the essence of the Christmas message is that light, love, joy, peace and kindness can and will break in at the time when all seems dark in the world.
May that love and joy fill your hearts, and those of all you love, at this Christmas time, and beyond.
Merry Christmas, everyone.