A CLUSTER of independent shops nestled in the heart of Southampton have backed the Daily Echo’s campaign to encourage shoppers to stay local.

Traders in Merry Oak are the latest to throw their weight behind our Buy Local, Shop Local campaign, backing Hampshire’s independent shops.

We launched Buy Local, Shop Local in March at the height of the recession – and since then it’s proved a big hit.

Traders in Deacon Road and Spring Road welcomed the campaign and urged shoppers to give it their backing.

Florist Dawn Sweetman, who set up her popular shop Dawn’s Flower Box 19 years ago, said: “It is really important to support independent traders in our local communities.

“The Echo’s Buy Local, Shop Local campaign has been great, encouraging people to get behind us and reminding them of the benefits of local businesses.

“We are very lucky in Merry Oak that we have a good, loyal customer base who have stayed with us and for that we thank them.

“But there are still people who live round here who don’t know we exist.

“Merry Oak is a lovely community and there are some great independent shops.

“You get fantastic, friendly customer service, quality produce and good prices too.”