Sevenoaks loyalty card scheme could be launched in Crowborough
A LOYALTY card scheme which has helped boost trade in Kent towns could be on the way to Crowborough.
If the scheme was launched, shoppers would be encouraged to spend their money in independent stores in return for a chance to win vouchers each month.
Crowborough and District Chamber of Commerce is currently sending out letters to shopkeepers about the potential scheme. The Courier understands 27 stores need to sign up, for around £40 a year, for the scheme to become a reality.
The Courier asked traders for their view and discovered a mixed response.
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Terrie Holmes, manager of Urban Retreat Hairdressers in Croft Road, thought it was a brilliant idea.
"Everybody likes to get a little bit extra," she said.
"It will bring people into the town."
But Jackie Beale, the new owner of Temptations florist in Croft Road was undecided.
"I need some more time to think about it," she said.
"I think I would probably sign up to it. Anything which brings more people in to shop locally would be a good thing."
Suzi Dunne, owner of AB&C Shoe repairs in Croft Road, said she was also veering towards signing up.
"If everyone else did it I would go for it," she said.
"Anything which brings more people into Crowborough is very important. The last thing I want is shops closing."
But Bruce Webster, owner of Benefactors, dismissed the scheme.
"What a waste of time," he said.
"I don't like gimmicks like that. I can't be bothered with it."
If it went ahead, the Crowborough card would be open to businesses within the town and the surrounding areas including Rotherfield, Mark Cross and Jarvis Brook.
When it launched in Sevenoaks, 100 traders signed up in three months.
Mark Tuvey, one of the directors of the Sevenoaks and District Chamber of Commerce, said: "It is very much a community based-scheme which encourages people to look at local shopping.
"It's a bit of fun. People like getting their cards stamped.
"It really took off here."
Edenbridge followed suit and had an amazing response.
Peter Kingham, chairman of Eden Valley Chamber of Commerce, said: "I think in these difficult times it is something that brings the traders and their customers a bit closer.
"It shows traders that customers are buying local and shows the customers an expression of loyalty to local businesses.
"It shows people are willing to buy local and not just go to places like Bluewater because we have already had £200,000-worth of lucky cards returned."