Businesses in Stonehaven are being offered important backing through a new retail support initiative.
Local traders are being encouraged to take part in the Business Support Scheme, which was launched this week.
It is hoped the project will bolster businesses in difficult economic times.
They will have the chance to work with leading retail experts due to a commission from the South Aberdeenshire Local Action Group (SALAG).
It has awarded a LEADER grant to fund one-to-one retail consultancy for Stonehaven, Banchory and Huntly.
The project will start in February and will run over a number of months, offering businesses access to specialist expertise and advice and workshops to help them maintain their long-term sustainability.
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said: “This is great news for our town centre businesses who will benefit greatly from the professional advice provided by The Retailer Group.
“I would strongly encourage all businesses to sign up for this support scheme which will help them grow and develop in their respective marketplace.”
Managing director of The Retailer Group, Gordon Bell, praised Aberdeenshire Council for taking the initiative to support local independent retailers.
He said: “This a great opportunity both for retailers and for the high street as a whole. We are delighted to be associated with this project and look forward to working with the businesses across Banchory, Stonehaven and Huntly to make a real difference both for the shops and local customers.
“A number of independent retailers situated in the town centre offer a variety of unique and quality products and our aim is to enthuse, engage and offer expert advice during this difficult economic period.”
The Retailer Group, members of Scotland’s Town Partnership, was established in 1999 and has its core business in high street retail.
Commenting on the scheme, chair of South Aberdeenshire LAG, Gina Ford, said: “We all know how important it is to keep our town centres alive and, as we approach the final few months of the LEADER 2014-2020 programme, it is good to be able to support local businesses in this way.”