Purple Love Week: positive response

HONITON town centre went purple last week to promote the wealth of independent shops it is famous for.

HONITON town centre went purple last week - to promote the wealth of independent shops it is famous for.Shop window displays, special offers and even free food tastings greeted customers between February 14 and 22.It was all part of Purple Love Week, launched four years ago in Dorset, and led in Honiton by Jo Burkey, of Champers delicatessen.It is understood Honiton became the first town to embrace the promotion, which was initially launched to support delicatessens and health food shops."We were busy all week and takings were up on the same period last year," Mrs Burkey told the Herald."People have come in to support us and the comments we received were pretty positive."Mrs Burkey said she gave out a lot of draw tickets. Customers who spent �5 or more were entered into a draw for a hamper. Watch this space to find out who wins the prize.Reflecting on the week, she said: "It's difficult to gauge if the extra trade was down to Purple Love Week, because it was half-term, but the tastings got some of the stuff on the shelf shifted."Just Cards, Pure Geezer, Swaggers, Coastline Jewellery, Surfer's Paradise, The Paper Shop, Wine World, The Curtain Trader and A Dimond and Co were among the businesses to support the event.Devon Air Ambulance Trust entered into the spirit of the occasion with a purple window display that won much praise.The owners of Surfer's Paradise said trade had ticked over nicely during the week.Even American tourists had popped into the High Street shop to ask what Purple Love Week was all about - and promptly spent some cash to support the initiative.Sue Bewsey, of Swaggers shoe shop, in High Street, said the campaign had raised awareness about the need for a 'shop local' culture and prompted many positive comments.Huw Grayer, of Wine World, in High Street, said special offers had gone particularly well during the week."Our �1.99 bottles of Chardonay have been flying off the shelf," he said.Young people embraced Purple Love Week. some even wore purple streaks in their hair!Claudia Glenister, 11, Emma Lister, 11, Harry Lister, 10, and Lewis Holdsworth, 10, had a message for shoppers last Thursday: "Shop in Honiton!" they told the Herald's video camera.They love shopping in Honiton, but admitted they miss Woolworths.Summing up the impact Purple Love Week had on trade, Mrs Burkey said: "I definitely think it was worthwhile. Anything that promotes local trade has got to be good.