Two senior Dundee councillors have said that local businesses “absolutely” have a future after the coronavirus crisis.
City council leader John Alexander and leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the council, Fraser Macpherson, said that firms across the city have rapidly adapted their business models amid the pandemic.
When asked about fears that some local independent businesses may have no long-term future Mr Macpherson, who represents the West End, said: “I would say the opposite. Our local businesses in my ward have done a fabulous job of adapting.
“You only have to look at the online orders for West End Butchers, the Little Green Larder or Fraser’s Fruit and Veg, who may have done none of this in the past, but have very swiftly and efficiently created a market – and there is a real market – for their products.
“Many local businesses have come into their own and adapted to the situation, because the reality is, there is a demand for the butchers, there is a demand for fruit and veg, and it’s just a matter of getting that fruit and veg or meat or whatever it is to the people.
“We’ve been very lucky to have a very vibrant shopping area in the Perth Road and there’s also an area in Blackness Road.
“In quick order (the businesses) have set up a delivery network and are getting their products out there – and very successfully.
“I think they absolutely have a future. Leaving aside that they provide a good service and a quality set of products, there is that loyalty from the community for local businesses that are providing such good services.”
Mr Alexander said the delivery of food and other items was hugely important for the city’s economy, but also vital for some of the shielded community, who aren’t able to access shops as easily.
He said: “I think there is a real kind of resilience within some of those independent stores, who have adapted to meet the current circumstances.
“I know I’ve been making good use of that. And the odd treat has been a Chinese takeaway, or a pizza or something like that, and it’s also quite good for your mental health.
“Supporting those local businesses is absolutely key. The council, the chamber of commerce, (we) have all collated information on local businesses who are providing takeaway services or delivery services to make sure that people are aware of what’s available.
“There are services available for people and that’s all the more important for people who don’t have the ability to go and stand in a queue for half an hour or 45 minutes.
“They might have mobility issues or they might be in the shielded group and needing to access other services.
“I think people have now seen the value in local businesses, because, bear in mind that that money stays in the local economy as well.
“They’re likely employing local people or getting local produce, so there’s a circular argument about how beneficial that is for the whole city.
“All credit to businesses in the city, because they have adapted and they’ve not necessarily done this for their own reward – there is a sense of community behind some of that.”