A CLOTHING store boss is backing a campaign urging shoppers to support independent shops as part of a campaign to celebrate the contribution of small businesses as he marks 37 years at Stretford Mall.

Yusuf Patel and fellow shopkeepers are calling on people to visit the shopping centre and see the wide range of goods and services they have to offer, as the UK marks Small Business Saturday on December 1.

He has run Sofi’s clothing store with wife Sufina, after whom the shop is named, at Stretford Mall for 37 years and is among the longest-standing independent retailers at the shopping centre.

The store is marking a successful year in business since expanding from a unit in the former market hall to a new shop unit inside the main Mall, last summer.

He said: "Small businesses are a big part of the community. We have regular customers and we are only here still because we support them by getting what they require.

"We really need local stores so it's important people come down to the mall and support us."

Nigel Young, who runs Reel Around The Fountain Records, also moved to a bigger unit at Stretford Mall last year, and has a loyal clientele to his record shop named after Manchester band The Smiths, on the balcony at Stretford Mall.

He said: "Anything that increases awareness and footfall is vital. There is choice here at Stretford Mall, a mix of independent and mainstream retailers, and it's important people support their local businesses.”