Southwold campaign to help boost independent traders

PEOPLE in the Southwold area are being urged to shop locally, to help preserve the town's unique character.

The My Southwold campaign aims to attract people back into independent stores with the help of a new loyalty card – providing money-saving offers in more than 30 shops and businesses.

The initiative has been launched by the Southwold Chamber of Trade to help secure the long-term future of independent traders, deemed a vital part of the area's 'close-knit' community. It follows the chamber's previous campaign in December to combat the arrival of WH Smith and Tesco in the town.

Since then, local traders and councillors have also expressed their concerns over proposals by the national chain Costa Coffee to open a new caf� at 70, High Street – formerly Fanny & Franks' clothes shop.

However, the chamber said the new campaign would provide greater incentives to shoppers by 'giving something back' if they used an independent shop or business. Its chairman, Guy Mitchell, said: 'The previous campaign encouraged people to think about where they were spending their money.


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'But this campaign will give something back to the consumer. With their interaction with independent shops, they receive a direct benefit from the participants.'

He added: 'We know our customers love having lots of independent shops rather than relying solely on national retail brands. The My Southwold campaign is a rare opportunity to not only enjoy all that Southwold has to offer, but it can play an important role in the future of this very special town.'

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Local marketing consultancy firm Savagewood and creative agency Spring helped develop the initiative which is already being promoted through posters and leaflets. The loyalty cards have been delivered to homes in Southwold and Reydon and are on offer at local businesses. Offers will change every month.

Morgan Elliott-Richards, the manager of fashion and lifestyle boutique Collen and Clare, said: 'The design of the incentive card is really nice and that is a strong thing for us. The campaign is for people who live in Southwold and Reydon – it is important that we concentrate on our community.'

However, Mrs Elliott-Richards said it was not just about beating the national chains. She added: 'I am a firm believer that any competition is good competition, you just have to try and be better than everybody. It would be great if Southwold was completely full of independent shops, but we should proud of what we have here.'

Erika Clegg, founder of Spring, said: 'We are delighted to have been involved with the My Southwold initiative.

'Spring's thinking behind the brand is that everyone, whatever their connection to the town, has a unique take on Southwold that makes it enormously personal to them. We wanted to leverage this affection in support of the town's independent businesses.'

?To find out more about My Southwold, visit www.mysouthwold.co.uk

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