CHRISTMAS shopping is well underway at Carmarthenshire County Council’s 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shops in Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Local independent businesses have been given free retail space to sell their products in the heart of the two town centres at the busiest trading time of the year.

The council has secured temporary use of the former Debenhams store in Carmarthen and no.1 Stepney Street, Llanelli.

Businesses selling handmade gifts and crafts, food and drinks, jewellery, clothing, homeware and more have taken advantage of the free retail space and trading has already been busy since they opened on December 1.

It is the second time the council has created pop-up shops to offer opportunities to local producers and traders following the launch of 100% Sir Gâr.

The initiative started as a virtual shop window on the council’s Discover Carmarthenshire website last year as a way of supporting local businesses to recover from a long period of lockdown and restrictions on retail.

Leader of the council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said supporting local businesses was key to reviving and strengthening Carmarthenshire’s economy following the pandemic.

“We’re really pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to small local businesses,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to call in to both pop-up shops and see the range of products and gifts for sale.

“What is rewarding is seeing the difference this opportunity makes to a small businesses. I hope that people will come out and support them. Every purchase made is money in the pockets and tills of local people, and I know how much they appreciate it.”

As well as the free pop-up shops the council has also agreed to allow free parking in its Carmarthen and Llanelli town centre car parks during December – in Carmarthen the local council and business representatives chose Sundays and in Llanelli they chose Saturdays.

This is in addition to the free parking periods in the council’s short stay car parks all through the year – in Carmarthen this is from 3.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in Llanelli from 10am to 4pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shops are open as follows:

1 Stepney Street, Llanelli

  • Dec 1-18: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays from 10am-4pm; Saturdays 10am-3pm
  • Dec 21-23: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am-4pm

St Catherine’s Walk, Carmarthen

  • Dec 1-12: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9am-5pm; and Sundays 11am-4.30pm
  • Dec 15-23: Every day 9am-5pm (11am-4.30pm on the Sunday)