CUSTOMERS are being urged to shop local this summer as Essex businesses bounce back from Covid.

Companies are joining forces with the Gazette and Essex County Council as part of our Love Local campaign.

The campaign encourages everyone in Essex to shop, eat, drink and visit locally and shares ways you can do it, both in person and online.

There are big benefits to supporting local businesses, including a great in-store experience for customers and consumers.

It also means you can support your community by creating jobs and pumping money into the economy, while less travel means reducing your carbon footprint.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Artisan sauce manufacturer What Hot Sauce is the latest company to join the Love Local campaign.

The Chelmsford-based business uses high quality ingredients and healthy probiotics to create accompaniments for meat, fish and vegetables.

They can be used as a marinade, topping, dressing or as a dipping sauce and What Hot Sauce is stocked at local shops and eateries across Essex.

Founder Adam Townsend said: "It's so import to support local businesses because then you're supporting your community, by putting money into local establishments.

"You're boosting local investments, too.

"When someone buys our hot sauce, they're not just supporting our business or me as a local business owner.

"They're also supporting the local suppliers I use and the local produce and businesses I buy from.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

"I'm incredibly thankful for all the local support we've received so far - not just from the public but also local independent businesses, who are the backbone of this industry.

"We only stock our products in local, independent shops and eateries and we're here to support and grow with the businesses around us."

Adam is looking forward to an exciting year, having launched during the pandemic.

He said: "As a chef on furlough for long periods of time, it drove me a little crazy.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

"I like to be busy, so starting my own business seemed a good way to channel my energy.

"Now I'm looking forward to operating once the pandemic has calmed down.

"So far, communication with our customers has been via social media and most of the credit goes to all the stores and eateries that stock our sauce.

"They've had more face-to-face - or mask-to-mask - time with our customers but now I'm looking forward to more of that myself.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Love Local

"It'll be great to go to food shows and explain more about our product and values and for people to be able to taste little sample pots in person."

Two other businesses which have previously supported Love Local are Bird & Bean café, in Frinton, and Whites Farm Baby Barn shop, in White Colne.

These independent businesses capture what Love Local is all about – taking the time to discover the unique places and different faces that make up Essex’s fantastic small business scene.

To find new ways to support businesses like them, visit Love Local from Essex County Council.