Traders team up to launch high street card at Gloucester Road festival

June 27 2013

Gloucester Road traders and shoppers showed their support for the first ever gift card for independent retailers in the UK at its Bristol launch.

by Rebecca Day

Gloucester Road traders and shoppers showed their support for the first ever gift card for independent retailers in the UK at its Bristol launch. YourStreet launch

Anne-Louise Perez and Imogen McIntosh – the founders of YourStreet Gift Card – were joined by Bristol Mayor George Ferguson, Tom Herbert from TV’s Fabulous Baker Brothers, and UWE deputy vice-chancellor Professor Paul Gough on Saturday, June 22.

The launch doubled as a celebration of Bristol’s independent shops, as 102 Gloucester Road, home to Nailsea Electrical and 102 Cookery School, hosted a festival of food and music with stalls showcasing local businesses.

YourStreet is a newly-established multi-store gift card which can be purchased online and redeemed only in independent stores. YourStreet launch

“It’s been amazing,” said Imogen. “We’ve been so pleased with the turnout, we’ve had more people join us than we could have imagined. There’s been lots of people making lots of effort, and I think it’s really raised awareness about the gift card. Hopefully it will really boost morale on Gloucester Road, and we’re looking forward to the launch in Bedminster in October, which will again be lots of fun, and we can raise awareness there.”

The pair revealed that they also hope to eventually be able to direct some of the profit from the initiative to the communities involved, helping fund enhancement projects such as flower beds or Christmas lights.

UWE has invested £63,000 in the scheme. The cards will be given as a welcome gift to 6,300 new full-time students, each receiving a card pre-loaded with £10. Prof Paul Gough said the university was delighted to be the initiative’s first big backer, praising “the spirit of social enterprise” shown by Anne-Louise and Imogen, who is a former UWE student. YourStreet launch

“It shows UWE’s commitment to students and our commitment to communities – we wanted to be the anchor organisation to set a target for other organisations to join us.”

He added: “It will encourage our students to shop locally and will help thousands of international students to settle in. It will put us, as a university, ahead of the pack.”

Under a giant marquee were 24 market stalls, all run by Bristol-based independent traders,  including Gopal’s Curry Shack, the Fish Shop’s oyster bar, Joe’s Bakery, Reason Interiors, Cox and Baloney, Chew Cupcakes and many more.

Children enjoyed face painting, a craft workshop with Art Rules, and guest appearances from Bristol Rovers players Ellis Harrison and Seanan Clucas. YourStreet launch

At 11am, Gloucester Road came alive as the highly-energetic Bristol Samba – a community band made up of dancers and drummers playing Brazilian music – kicked off the event. Bristol’s 20-piece jazz band Sisters of Swing also played later on in the afternoon, filling the tent with sounds from the Thirties.

Guest speeches from Tom Herbert, UWE’s Prof Paul Gough and Mayor George Ferguson were also given during the event. 

Mr Ferguson said: “Bristol is characterised by having all of these independent shops, with Gloucester Road, of course, being the ‘king’ road. Shopping should be a part of our community, and YourStreet is a really great way of reinforcing this.” YourStreet launch

He added: “We have to fight back against the domination of the supermarkets and the big stores, because [shopping locally] is much more fun.

“I think it’s been enthusiastically received and I’m 100 per cent behind it.”

Mayor Ferguson stated that he will “definitely be purchasing a gift card, as long as they take my Bristol pounds”.

Alongside the YourStreet launch, Nailsea Electrical was also celebrating the opening of its state-of-the-art kitchen showroom. Guests were treated to live cookery demonstrations by 102 Cookery School throughout the day.

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