Meet the people behind the High Street. Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on our High Street, particularly with our independent and local businesses; so over the coming few weeks, The Tees will be featuring local campaigns and ideas of people fighting back, trying support this sector at these very challenging times

Humans of the High Street is a collection of heart-warming and honest stories documenting real people and real businesses in Stockton, during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The documentaries were filmed during the first Lockdown telling the heartfelt stories of the business owners as the pandemic ensued and they were forced to shut.

Businesses taking part in Humans on the High Street include: Drake the Bookshop, Stockton Modeller, Who-Ray, Review, Hickson’s Motors, Jill’s Flowerbox, Wags and Whiskers, Lu Lu’s, Slave to the Grind and The Golden Smog. The wonderful people that run these independent businesses share their own stories from lockdown, about their return to trading after forced closure and general thoughts about the High Street and the future of retail.

Stockton Business Improvement District are behind the project, which was developed by Stockton based creative brand agency OOK. Together, they have been promoting ‘The Future is Local’ project to encourage more people to come and see what Stockton High Street has to offer.

It is hoped the project will help shine a spotlight on the wealth of independent shops, businesses and services in Stockton- on-Tees and encourage communities to buy local this Christmas and beyond.

“As a BID, our focus is on encouraging long term use of the High Street and to do that we have to look at innovative ways of responding to an ever-changing landscape. We have some amazing businesses right here on our doorstep and we urge everyone to come and take a look at what Stockton has to offer.” Says Jason Maxwell, BID Manager

Creative design and marketing agency OOK, led by director Maxine Freer, developed the project.

Maxine says:  “For me as the creative director on the project, it was really important that we didn’t just create another ‘shop local’ campaign that would blend in with all the others.”

“I wanted to create a campaign that captured the human aspect of the High Street, the essence and spirit of the community, people and place and to show that during Covid times, the smaller independent business people of Stockton High Street have demonstrated amazing strength in adverse circumstances.”

OOK collaborated with companies such as Middlesbrough’s Wander Films to edit and produce the videos.

Further information about the project can be found here, and the full playlist of films can be found here


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