THE BID sponsored In Strabane gift card scheme is proving hugely popular with shoppers in Strabane with one local retailer recently reaching the £1,000 sales milestone.
BeJeweled at Soul, located on Strabane’s Main Street, is one of the local businesses seeing the benefits of the gift card having secured over £1,000 in gift card sales since the scheme was launched in November last year.
According to Ursula O’Neill, joint owner of BeJeweled at Soul, the store is reaping the benefits of being part of the In Strabane Gift Card scheme and she is encouraging other local businesses to sign up, as she believes it helps encourage more shoppers to shop local.
Ursula says she is supportive of any initiative aimed at encouraging people to spend their money in Strabane and support the local economy.
BeJeweled at Soul is located on the Main Street and is owned and managed by Ursula and her sister Tracy.
They stock unique footwear, jewellery and fashion accessories and work hard to source their products throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe in order to cater for every age and budget.
Retailing in a town centre environment can be challenging in the current economic climate but Ursula says efforts such as the In Strabane Gift Card are definitely helping in terms of encouraging people to support the small, local town centre businesses.
“We are delighted to have achieved £1,000 sales through the gift card scheme and to see more and more local people coming into our store and supporting our business.
“We have been seeing the benefits of the Gift Card. It has encouraged people to return to traditional shopping, visiting the town centre and calling into our shop.
“We believe it is really important for all of the small local businesses to work together to promote Strabane’s retail offering and support the work being done on the ground by all businesses, the chamber of commerce and the Strabane BID Company to encourage spend in Strabane town centre and help build the economy.
“We are fully supportive of any initiative that promotes Strabane and raises its profile as a great place to visit and shop,” she said.
Sinead Lynch who is responsible for rolling out the Gift Card as part of the Strabane BID programme explains:
“The In Strabane Gift Card is a Mastercard-based gift card that can be used as part of a full payment for purchases across a network of businesses in Strabane.
“The card works in the same way as any department store or shopping centre gift card and can be spent in any of the 60 businesses across Strabane that are signed up.
“We are delighted at the success of the scheme to date and are really pleased to see shops such as BeJeweled at Soul benefiting from being part of it.
“The scheme is geared towards promoting the town’s unique retail offering and provides a boost for independent retailers throughout the year.
“It doesn’t cost businesses anything to join the programme and the BID Company is encouraging as many local retailers as possible to join up.
“With over 60 retailers already on board – both independents and nationals – the Gift Card offers shoppers more brand choice with its wide array of products and services, all located within the local area.”
This is just one of a number of initiatives to be rolled out by the BID company, who have been working closely with traders in Strabane on a range of initiatives aimed at increasing retail and tourism footfall.
The company was created in 2016 after Strabane businesses voted in favour of becoming a Business Improvement District, where local businesses pay a 1.5% levy and work in partnership to raise funds to improve the town centre and the surrounding environment.
Louise added that Council is very keen to step up efforts to encourage more companies who want to reward staff to use the Gift Card.
Not only is it a good staff incentive but it is a great way of supporting local business.
The gift cards can be purchased in bulk at a discounted rate, and the cards can be valued from £5 right up to £500.
The ‘In Strabane’ cards are available to buy in Café Fresco and the Alley Theatre as well as online via www.instrabanegiftcard.com
Businesses who want to sign up can contact the BID team at the Strabane Council offices. Email – firstname.lastname@example.org – Tel: 02871 253 253.