SMALLER businesses at a shopping centre are thinking big to give their strong support to a major event aimed at throwing the spotlight on independent companies.

Although major firms with multiple branches are often seen as the powerhouse of Britain’s economy, a campaign group is highlighting the fact that small and medium sized businesses also make a massive contribution to the national balance sheet.

The independent businesses at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham are planning special offers to pull in the customers and raise awareness of the campaign to think small in a big way.

They’re among a host of smaller companies across the UK that are gearing up for the second annual Small Business Saturday (SBS), a day-long event taking place on December 6.

Giving strong local support to next month’s Small Business Saturday will be Sharon Hughes, who used her life savings to open the Gozo Men hair and beauty salon at Eagles Meadow in the teeth of the recession in 2010.

The entrepreneurial mother-of-two, a former nurse, was fulfilling a lifelong ambition to run her own business which has become a real family success story with her daughter, Katie, becoming the company’s Style Director.

The salon has enjoyed a highly successful four years since its fanfare opening and Sharon has recently expanded the business to provide hair and beauty treatments for women alongside those she offers for the guys.

Sharon is very enthusiastic about lending her support to Small Business Saturday, and said: “I think it is an excellent idea and something I’ve just got to get involved in.

“These are tough times for everyone in business, especially the smaller independents such as myself, and this campaign will do much to raise awareness of the fact that we’re here offering a great service to our customers on a very personal level.

“On the day I’ll be offering one half-price hair or beauty treatment – for men and women – for every full-price one that is bought from us.

“I think that will show that we like to give something back to the customers who have helped to make Gozo such a success.

“In fact, we’re doing so well that I’m currently advertising for a tattooist and a body piercer to work alongside us at the salon on a self-employed basis.”

Also planning a special offer for Small Business Saturday is Andrew Burson, managing director of the Ragazzi, an independent designer menswear store based in Eagles Meadow.

Originally located on the outskirts of the town centre, Ragazzi moved to larger premises in the prestigious shopping centre in 2011. Over the years it has gained an enviable reputation for stocking the latest brands in men’s fashion.

Collections include classics such as Lyle & Scott, Barbour, C.P. Company and Paul & Shark, whilst it also showcases up and coming labels such as Edwin and MA Strum amongst others.

Andrew said: “Throughout our years in business we have prided ourselves on giving exceptional customer service, which is what most independent businesses are about. That’s why I believe that Small Business Saturday is such a great idea.

“These aren’t easy times for anyone to be trading in and anything that throws the spotlight onto small and medium firms like ours has got to be worth supporting.

“I think it’s a very positive idea which should certainly raise awareness of the fact that there are many brilliant small businesses out there.

“I’m still working out the details of the special offer for Small Business Saturday we’ll be having at Ragazzi but I know we’ll definitely be having something worthwhile.”

Eagles Meadow Centre Manager Kevin Critchley said: “Here at Eagles Meadow we’re very proud of the fact that, apart from our larger tenants, we also include a significant number of smaller independent businesses which make their own huge contribution to the diversity and success of the shopping centre.

“That’s why we are giving our wholehearted support to Small Business Saturday, which I think is an excellent idea in that it raises awareness of the very important role that the independents play in punching above their weight to boost the local and national economy.”