Businesses across the country are cashing in on being part of the groundbreaking Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards – and more are being urged to join them.
Shops, visitor attractions, cafes and restaurants were among the thousands which joined the regional programmes as they were rolled out in the final quarter of last year, with numbers continuing to rise.
And, with shoppers spending their cards, the team behind the scheme believe 2022 will see them really establish their worth in encouraging people to spend locally.
Each of Scotland’s 32 local authority regions has the ability to have its own local gift card as part of a Scottish Government-backed programme being spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), working alongside Perth-based fintech Miconex.
Cards can only be spent in the regions on which they are branded, meaning the money is locked into the area’s economy – boosting businesses, protecting jobs and helping to build a stronger, more sustainable economy in which localism thrives as part of the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Local authorities are leading on the localised gift card work in their area, urging businesses to sign up as merchants as well as for people to purchase the cards as gifts for family or friends or rewards. Employers are also being encouraged to embrace them as corporate rewards for staff, supporting other businesses around them.
Kimberley Guthrie is leading on the rollout for STP, the organisation behind the wider Scotland Loves Local campaign.
She said: “The response we have had to the rollout of the gift cards has been – and continues to be – fantastic. Local authorities and businesses can really see the benefits of the programme in giving people another reason to show their loyalty to businesses in their area.
“But the success we have enjoyed so far is just the beginning. As the programme grows, so will its power in our local economies, benefiting increasing numbers of businesses, whether in retail, hospitality, leisure or more.
“Working with our partners, we have really exciting plans to harness that potential during 2022 and would love more people to join us on that journey.
“The entire community really does benefit from the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card.”
Candle studio and gift shop Thistle Island, in Kirkcaldy, Fife, is among the businesses which has signed up to accept the gift card – one of more than 70 places to have so far done so across the region.
Owner Joanne Drysdale, who opened her shop in April last year, said: “When I opened the shop, I didn’t have any expectations but it has been amazing and I think that’s because people are really getting behind the idea of shop local.
“I joined the Fife Gift Card because, as a new business, many people don’t know I’m here and being a part of the gift card is a good way to get people through the door and build awareness.
“The Fife Gift Card is a great gift because it gives people the option of where to spend it. It’s a quick and convenient gift to give someone but they can use the gift card to access some really unique products and services.
“When you shop local, you’re supporting someone’s business and that means so much to small business owners like myself.”
The Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card can be be spent with in excess of 140 businesses in the city, including Once Upon A Whisky Tours.
It takes in four of the city’s best whisky venues and owner Camilo Gómez said: ““We joined the Glasgow Gift Card because it’s a useful scheme to encourage people to spend locally, especially with hospitality.
“Bars and restaurants have been hugely affected by the pandemic, and the Glasgow Gift Card will help hospitality businesses to navigate these difficult times. We need to stay positive and support Scottish businesses as much as we can.”
Organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses and Scottish Grocers’ Federation have encouraged their members to sign up as merchants.
Scotland’s Economy Secretary, Kate Forbes, and Tom Arthur, the Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, have also spoken of their support for the scheme, urging businesses and consumers across Scotland to be part of it.
To sign your business up to accept the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card, click here.
You can buy a Scotland Loves Local Gift Card for your region here.
Scotland Loves Local Gift Card: Be inspired
- Highlands Gift Card: La Tortilla
- The Edinburgh Gift Card: Fabhatrix
- The Argyll & Bute Gift Card: Loch Fyne Gallery
- Aberdeenshire Gift Card: Largue Pharmacy & Duke Street Pharmacy
- The East Renfrewshire Gift Card: Kate’s Boutique
- Aberdeenshire Gift Card: the Ethical Gift Shop & Refillery
- The South Ayrshire Gift Card: Scotts at Troon Yacht Haven
- Renfrewshire Gift Card: Finishing Touches
- Dumfries & Galloway Gift Card: The Guild Dumfries