Store closure prompts Axminster 'shop local' Christmas initiative
PUBLISHED: 07:01 19 November 2019
Following the closure of Axminster's biggest town centre store, some 40 traders have joined forces to launch a pre-Christmas 'shop local' initiative.
With loss-making Trinity House finally shut, the town's Totally Locally campaign is seeking to build on the enthusiasm from its recent Fiver Fest.
Getting under way on Saturday, November 23, the Xmas Trail will invite shoppers to collect loyalty stamps each time they spend £10 with a different participating trader.
A full card of six stamps entitles them to be entered into a prize draw on Wednesday, December 18, with four £50 shopping voucher prizes to be won.
Totally Locally Axminster has also joined forces with Axminster Heritage Centre to organise a display that will ensure the windows of the former department store do not remain empty through Christmas.
Agreement has been secured from continuing leaseholders, Goulds of Dorchester, for a series of posters celebrating all that is great about the town.
The pre-Christmas initiatives follow close on the news that Axminster Property is negotiating to buy Trinity House on behalf of a client.
If successful, it will mean that the pivotal building will once again become a focal point for a town that relies heavily on its independent traders.
Jane Rockett, of Axminster Printing, who is amongst those leading the Totally Locally initiative, said: "There is a real sense of excitement and relief in the town that Trinity House could come back into play very quickly.
"But the challenge remains to try to get the community behind the other independent traders as they go into what for many is a crucial time of year."
Barrie Hedges, from the Archway Bookshop, added: "We hope we can encourage people to look first at what is available locally as they work through their Christmas lists. We also want them to put real value on personal service and on sustaining businesses that provide local jobs and feed money into the local economy. The internet may be convenient but it is in danger of killing town centres like ours."
Axminster has joined a cohort of more than 60 UK towns who have turned to the multi-award winning Totally Locally to help save their town centres from the threat posed by the internet and big national stores.
The initiative started out as a small idea in the North of England and has gone viral to become a multi-award-winning worldwide movement.
The local campaign feeds from a simple central message: "If every adult in Axminster and the surrounding area spent just £5 per week in their local independent shops that they would otherwise have spent online or with national chain stores, it would put around £1.8 million a year back into our local economy."
A full list of traders participating in the Xmas Trail will be posted on one of the Trinity House windows and also on Totally Locally Axminster's Facebook and Instagram pages.