FOR one couple it’s only too obvious what would happen if they were to shut up shop.

The only shop in Bramshaw village near Cadnam is a lifeline for scores of elderly residents and people who can’t drive.

Not only that but Debbie and Mike Mills help local producers by stocking their cheeses, meats, fruit and vegetables.

The couple are the latest Hampshire traders to join the Daily Echo’s new Buy Local, Shop Local campaign.

Shopkeepers, restaurant bosses and small business owners across the county have been throwing their weight behind the new campaign encouraging residents to support their local shops.

With the credit crunch and economic downturn on everyone’s lips it is vital for shoppers to dig deep and spend their hard-earned cash in high street shops.

This could mean buying your vegetables from the village grocer or picking up sausages from the nearby butcher – the campaign is about spending money locally.

Since the campaign started last week dozens of Daily Echo posters have been appearing in shop windows across the county.

Debbie, who has been working in the store for 16 years, said: “Last August we were told that it would shut and the owner asked if we would take it on.

“We didn’t want to lose our village shop so we thought we would apply to keep it open. Since we took it on our locals have been supporting us and without their support there is no way we would have survived the winter.

“It’s important to keep supporting your local village businesses because if we don’t get the support then we would not be here.

Daily Echo: Contact Simon Carr for your free Buy Local, Shop Local Poster

We are needed for the elderly and people who don’t drive. We also support local businesses like local cheeses, local meats and fruit and vegetables.”

Customer Denis Shaughnessy, 49, said: “I think it is absolutely essential that everyone supports local shops.

“For villages like ours the shop is the heart of the community and it is one of the few tangible assets we have.

“It is welcoming and almost like a social club that we can all use.”

Co-owner of the shop Mike Mills, 47, of Bramshaw, said: “With local shops people get a warm welcome that you just don’t experience in supermarkets.

“Here we get everything local people want and if we don’t have it we find a way to get it in.

“We are particularly important for older people and keep an eye on our regular customers.”