TIMES have been tough for local businesses, and going into the festive period the worries are stacking up.

Amidst a struggling economy, local market stalls have found this year harder than ever, but sweet shop owner Vicky Shorrocks has relied on local links to keep her business afloat.

The Market Sweet Shop has relied on local support and supply during the coronavirus pandemic and this may become more vital in the coming months than ever before.

The shop provided free delivery on sweet boxes to Kendal residents throughout lockdown, and even stretched to Milnthorpe when demand grew. The shop stocks a huge array of local treats and for years has held a local and friendly atmosphere that has attracted Kendal’s residents.

“We are the biggest seller of Kendal Mint Cake in the area and we rely on our locals”, shop owner Vicky Shorrocks told the Westmorland Gazette.

“We sell a lot of Romney’s, and almost everything here is local.”

The festive period is normally a busy time for market stalls, with tourists and locals indulging in local festive stalls, but the period could prove difficult in the coming months as footfall through the market drops.

“We have run this shop for five or six years. We normally do a lot of hot chocolate- we did 5000 last year and made them ourselves, but this year we are only aiming to make 1000.”

Fears over coronavirus combined with new safety regulations have led to many shoppers staying at home and there has been a noticeable lack of customers in the market.

Vicky described a moment with only two or three customers as the busiest it had been all day, but she hopes that local customers will return to the store and she is determined to keep using local produce.

“We are still open, and we go local as much as we can. Now we need to the support back.”

A number of businesses have been struggling through the pandemic, however they have been boosted since the lockdown was lifted back in June.

The eat out to help out scheme has helped eateries across the region, and other shops have now reported a boost in sales in recent weeks, with school children and sixth form students returning to the classroom.