STRUGGLING to survive, business owners in a Moray town and community leaders have launched a campaign urging people to support their local shops.
Following the closure of some iconic businesses in Lossiemouth in recent months, a warning has gone out that others are teetering on the edge and more could follow.
The ongoing impact of the recession and changing shopping habits have combined to leave local businesses facing a battle. It is a similar story across Moray.
One local business owner has revealed that they could make more money on the dole.
The euphoria of saving the town’s RAF base last year following a major community campaign showed the spirit locally.
And community leaders have urged people to rally behind local businesses before it is too late and Lossie becomes something of a ghost town.
Moray councillor for the town, Carolle Ralph, said many business owners have expressed their concerns to her.
There was shock in the town earlier this month with the sudden closure of the Rare hair salon, which employed eight women, after 11 years. That comes hard on the heels of the closure of the local fruit and veg shop, Swansons, which was a popular store.
"I speak to a lot of business people and their main concern is the downturn in trade. Shops, pubs, hotels; they are all struggling for numbers," said Councillor Ralph.
"We have a lot of good businesses in Lossie and don’t want to lose them. One business person said to me they would make more money on the dole, and I have heard that from other people. We need to try and do something," she added.
The simple message from Tony Rook, local newsagent and Lossiemouth Business Association chairman, is: "Support us or lose us".
He added: "Supporting your local shops keeps local people in employment and the money they earn stays in the local economy."
Councllor Ralph fears other businesses could close before Christmas unless more is done to raise awareness of the plight facing local shops.
Lossiemouth Community Council chairman Mike Mulholland revealed that efforts are being spearheaded to bring together all interested groups in the town to come up with ideas to give business and the town in general a boost.
"I think this is the hardest it has been for businesses. We want to attract people into the town and get a business spin-off from that," he said.
Read more on this story in 'The Northern Scot'.