If every adult in Stroud spent £5 per week in local independent shops and businesses, instead of online or in the large chain stores, it would bring an extra £4.5 million into the local economy. It’s a striking message.
The Fiver Fest campaign began in 2010 in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, and is run by Totally Locally. It has spread throughout the UK and the world and this is the first year Stroud has taken part. From 5-12 October, shoppers could snap up a wide range of goods, treats and services for just a fiver. 35 businesses took part, displaying £5 offers on cheery orange posters in their windows. I spoke to Tony Davey of Party On Up during Fiver Fest to find out how it was going.
“It’s going well. Here in the party shop we’ve sold some of all our offers, including bunches of biodegradeable balloons for a fiver. More importantly, the message is getting out. In Confection Affection, one customer who was buying chocolate said ‘This is my £5 to the local independents’.”
And it’s not just about Stroud. Nailsworth are into their second run of Fiver Fest and other towns in the county run Fiver Fests too, including Tewkesbury and Chipping Sodbury.
“It has helped raise awareness” Tony says. “It’s opened my eyes to the power of small businesses working together. In Tewkesbury somebody said to me, ‘I heard you talking about Fiver Fest on the radio and we’re coming to Stroud on Saturday to look around’. Totally Locally have provided wonderful graphic support to us. We printed town maps showing all the Fiver Fest participants and it’s been lovely to see people wandering around town following the maps. It feels like a treasure hunt and that’s quite appealing for visitors and tourists.”
Corinne at Butterfly Ball told me Fiver Fest is also a way to thank customers. “I wouldn’t be here without my loyal customers” she said. With bargains all over town, Fiver Fest is certainly a great opportunity for shoppers. So look out for it again next year!