Exeter "indie Christmas" scheme created by city's independent businesses
Independent businesses in Exeter have joined forces to promote an "indie Christmas" for the city's smaller establishments.
A collective of business owners across Exeter are creating the concept of a "Christmas shopping map" to be given to customers at designated shops or cafes who are taking part. The map will have a key and customers will be asked to visit each business on it, getting them to stamp the map to say they have visited. Once the customer has visited all the retailers and collected all of their stamps they will be asked to fill in their contact details and take it to a designated drop off point.
All completed maps will be entered into a grand prize draw with the winners getting a 'Stocking' of prizes donated by each of the businesses involved.
The new scheme is part of the reaction from companies in Exeter to the recent serge of larger corporations in the city centre.
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A collective for the West Quarter of the city centre was created in July this year to help businesses in the area achieve key priorities including improving signage, cleaning up the streets and ensuring Fore Street has a festive feel with Christmas lights this year.
Co-coordinator of the collective Lorna Young, from ShakerMaker on Fore Street, said:
"The majority of independent businesses in the West Quarter are really enthusiastic about working together to try and enhance the shopping experience in and around Fore Street to benefit local traders and other small businesses who have a vested interest in improving this area. The Collective was established in July this year and the hard work and commitment of local traders is slowly beginning to make a difference. Any future support or funding by the council combined with funding put forward by local landlords and traders would make a massive impact on the future of businesses and improved trading in the West Quarter."
Amanda Leach of InsideOut in Princesshay, who is helping to organise the Indie Christmas Shopping Crawl, said:
"We feel that Independents are not always championed enough by the council and often because indies cannot afford the high premise costs of prime retail areas they are in positions with much lower levels of footfall, so it can be a case of out of sight out of mind. Without Independent businesses our City would lack vibrancy and diversity, It would be great if we could work with the Council to ensure visitors see everything that Exeter has to offer including the hidden independent gems."
It has been announced that this year's Princesshay lights will be switched on by Exeter's celebrity chef Michael Caines and two singers from the Military Wives Choir with television personality Toby Anstis. For the first time there will also be a Christmas Market on Cathedral Green this year running from Friday 23 November until Sunday 16 December.
The indie Christmas scheme has been given the hashtag #exeterindiexmas on Twitter and organisers met at The Prospect on Exeter Quay last Tuesday to discuss further details. For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org