Motoring customers through the Covid crisis

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

Mechanic Paula Howsden, the owner of 90-year-old firm Hickson Motors, has spoken about her concern for small businesses like hers during ongoing Covid measures while taking part in a campaign to support Stockton High Street.

Humans of the High Street (#HOTHS) is a campaign featuring a series of 10 short films that document the thoughts and feelings of the town’s business owners during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The campaign is being ramped up in an attempt to reinforce the need to support Stockton High Street and the surrounding yards and streets during the tightening of restrictions.

Located at No 2 West Row, Hickson Motors has been a firm feature in the town centre for almost 90 years. Today the business is owned and managed by mechanic Paula, who has been part of the firm for more than 34 years and took ownership in 2001.

“The current situation is very worrying for small business owners,” said Paula. “We’ve started to pick up as a result of the six-month grace on MOTs, but marketing campaigns like #HOTHS are a vital platform – you could say lifeline – to communicate to the wider public what is here in Stockton.

“I back Stockton BID (Business Improvement District) and I’m grateful we have a Business Improvement District in our town that can support us.

“The idea of #HOTHS to show the human impact is very worthwhile and we need digital exposure to showcase the individuality of businesses like Hickson Motors.”

The campaign was created for Stockton BID by Tees Valley creative agency OOK (One of a Kind), a new breed of agency that places purpose ahead of profit.

“It’s been an incredibly hard year as the impact of Covid-19 has been felt across every aspect of our lives, liberties and livelihoods,” said Stockton BID manager Jason Maxwell.

“It is propelling us forward at speed with uncertainty to a new landscape which is pushing our human endurance to its limit.

“We must keep going – we can’t do what we’ve delivered in the past. We must look beyond what we know and curate the new. That’s why working with people like Max Freer and her company OOK – we collectively collaborate to find new creative solutions to navigate challenging times.

“Stockton BID has amazing levy members and right now we urge the local community to go online and check Facebook, Instagram and our website to find out how you can support these local businesses. We must pull together.”

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#HOTHS is made up of a series of emotive videos filmed with the people who own and run shops, cafes and premises along the famous wide high street and surrounding area.

See the videos here: