Gordon has once again been championing the wide variety of small businesses across Blackpool for Small Business Saturday – an initiative that is now in its fourth year in the UK.
As the local MP but also as Shadow Skills Minister, Gordon who was also once part of Chuka Umunna’s team, who himself was instrumental in bringing the initiative over to the UK, Small Business Saturday has always been a key date in his diary.
With Small Business Saturday having cross-party support, Gordon started the day with his Parliamentary neighbour Mark Menzies MP for breakfast at Dahlia’s Kitchen - a coffee shop and restaurant which sits on the boundary between the Fylde and Blackpool South constituencies. There they had a traditional English Breakfast with Shaun Pickup, who has been running the business for the last five years.
Gordon said: “I was pleased to hear about how Dahlia’s Kitchen is going from strength to strength and the recent success they have enjoyed with some of their award winning food, including some of their very own sausages we had with our breakfast. Working with Shaun on Blackpool Pride, I have always known him to be a person who is very community minded and someone who is passionate about the Fylde Coast area. That is reflected in the way he runs Dahlia’s Kitchen, which promotes produce which is the very best of Lancashire.”
Following the hearty breakfast, Gordon along with Labour councillors Peter Hunter and Alistair Humphreys, met up with Danielle and Joe Yates, who run Montagues on Highfield Road - both of whom supported Gordon’s “Cleaner Greener Blackpool” campaign in the spring. It was the second successive Small Business Saturday, he had met with the couple, who in just over a year of opening have already had award winning success with Danielle earning an Enterprise Vision Award.
Gordon explained: “Montagues is again another example of a community minded restaurant and bar, and a year after opening, it is firmly established on Highfield Road. When I walk from my office to my flat, it is always busy with customers and it’s no surprise to see the recognition they are receiving. Danielle and Joe are a young couple and I was also really pleased to hear they share the same passion I have for both skilling and training, as well as providing opportunities for young people in Blackpool.”
Over the last few years Gordon has also worked closely with Geoff Reeves and Councillor Mark Smith, in Blackpool Council’s Enterprise and Economic Development team. One of the council’s most successful initiatives in this area has been the “Get Started” scheme, and Geoff who is a Small Business Adviser has helped hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs turn their dreams into a reality. Geoff showed both Gordon and Mark around some of the businesses that had more recently been supported by Get Started, including Tanya’s Nails and Beauty, Labyrinth Spiritual Gifts, the Polo Market and finally Beauticology ltd - all of which are in South Shore and is an area which Gordon has always promoted.
Gordon ended the day with Leanne Docherty, who recently set up her own training business, LM Training and Consultancy, which provides bespoke training for people in social care – an area which Gordon said was of “particular importance to an area like Blackpool”, because it has a higher than average older population.
He commented: “As I have said in the past there’s a huge amount of entrepreneurial activity in the town which should be celebrated – I saw that from the various visits this Saturday. As the local MP and as Shadow Skills Minister, I know how important the role of small businesses are to the success of the local economy but also in providing skills and employment for Blackpool people.”