At AppDrawn, we’ve seen the positive and negative impacts of the past few years on our local economy and businesses.

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The importance of going local

The past couple of years have been tough for many businesses. High street shops had to contend with reduced – or zero – footfall, while leisure and hospitality, salon and beauty businesses also suffered from pandemic restrictions.

However, there were also a great many other local, independent businesses that were able to seize this period as a chance to pivot to digital, creating or updating their online presence. In addition, the shift to home working allowed for the re-discovery of shopping and engaging with local independent businesses. 

Not-on-the-high street

Yes, we turned to the likes of Amazon and Ocado for their convenience and breadth of offering. But at the same time, we were also finding local businesses which could offer more personalised online services and delivery options. And enjoying these discoveries too!

A survey by Natwest, for instance, found that 84% of consumers actively supported local independent businesses in 2020, with an estimated £7.2 billion spent supporting these kinds of companies in the same year.

Habits stick, including many of our spending habits. So, whether it’s discovering novel, not-on-the-high street offerings, supporting local artisans or the convenience of engaging with firms in-person, in your local area – it’s likely that the going local approach will continue over the coming years. 

The benefits of this will extend far beyond the consumer wanting a local service, or the local service enjoying a boost to its business. A recent report by Visa and the Cebr (Centre for Economics & Business Research), found that of every £10 spent with independently-owned local businesses surveyed, £3.80 is retained in the local area.

North London, born and bred

At AppDrawn, we’ve seen the positive and negative impacts of the past few years on our local economy and businesses.

We’ve always been headquartered in Watford, north London; AppDrawn’s MD, Tim Kloss, even went to school in and grew up in the surrounding area. While we do have team members – and fantastic developer talent – in Barcelona, we’ve also always supported a strong Watford workforce. 

Furthermore, in over two decades of doing business, we’ve worked with numerous local businesses, such as Imagine Property Group and Renteq Highway.

Unfortunately, like many UK towns, we’ve witnessed Watford’s high street losing a number of big names, such as John Lewis and Debenhams. However, many independent brands have retained their positions (whether physical or virtual), including Jackson Jewellers, a business dating back to 1876.

Living and working in the local area, it’s clear to us that there are a great number of pre-established businesses that have carved a well-established and not-to-be-shifted niche in the local enterprise scene.

The spotlight’s on Watford!

Watford is also lucky enough to be at the heart of a burgeoning film and creative industry, including the Warner Bros studios in Leavesden, which straddles Watford and the Three Rivers. 

In recognition of this, and of Watford’s strategic position and strong community, at the start of last year, our local councillors approved a plan for the ‘Economic Growth of Watford.’ 

Local politics aside: a plan aiming to ‘develop and grow the town’s economic development activity, to deliver a prosperous economy for Watford and to ensure that as a town we create sufficient opportunities for local people to maximise their economic prosperity and potential’…can only be a good thing!

Whether you’re a fledging Watford start-up or a known name looking to grow; whether you feel like you’re able to cash-in or are missing out on this ‘Economic Growth’ plan: we want to hear from you!

Supporting local talent 

At AppDrawn, we believe we can help support your business digitalise and scale, and in doing so, help support our local area. 

We understand the local economy and the importance of supporting growth in our local ecosystem. We’ll work with your team to find the right tools and right approach, and ultimately bring people, talent and money to the local area. 


Questions? Thoughts? Get in touch – hope to hear from you soon!

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