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10 NEWS


MARKET TRADER, FEBRUARY 15 - 28, 2019


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REP. OF IRELAND 13 ISSUES 26 ISSUES


New online shopping service Online technology for independent retailers (Photo: Brooke Cagle)


Independent retailers and businesses in a Hertfordshire town are joining forces to fight back against the online shopping giants and the potential demise of the high street, in a bid to encourage residents to shop locally. Supported by the Borough Council, Stevenage officially opened for a ‘new type of modern business’ on Saturday January 26 and organised a day of activities, free giveaways, prizes and goody bags to promote the scheme to the local community. Over 30 Stevenage retailers and businesses are offering locals a virtual Click and Collect service, as well as a Commute and Collect service. The service is run by ShopAppy, a


website and app aimed at improving footfall and sales for local independent retailers by enabling people to order online from a number of different local retailers, then have their orders collated to pick up in one place, at a time convenient for them, even after the shops have closed. The scheme combines the convenience


of online shopping with the individualism of local retail, hopefully boosting footfall and custom to the town. There will be a number of collection


points situated around the town, one of which will be at the town theatre, opposite Stevenage Railway Station, offering a Click and Commute service for local commuters. The launch activities included face painting, dancing emojis and Instagram selfie-boards, and visitors also had the chance to receive free shopping vouchers and win a variety of prizes. The official launch took place at 11am


in Stevenage Town Square (with smaller concurrent events also in the indoor market and Westgate Centre) and later in


the day at The Cromwell Hotel in the Old Town at 1.45pm. More than 30 Stevenage retailers have already signed up to support the initiative. ShopAppy has been developed by entrepreneur Dr Jackie Mulligan and has attracted positive support and interest across the country. The scheme is already working successfully in Yorkshire and Norfolk, making a positive impact on customers, shops, local markets and high streets. John Gardner, executive member


for regeneration and environment at Stevenage Borough Council, said: ”We are delighted to be partnering with ShopAppy, which will bring an extra dimension to what our shops can provide to customers by adding a click and collect facility. “With our high streets facing a downturn


in consumer spending, increased competition online and the closure of major retailers impacting footfall, it is more important than ever to support independent stores, which are the heart and soul of our town’s retail offering. “The addition of ShopAppy will enable


them to compete on a more level playing field.” Dr Mulligan commented: ”I’m delighted


that Stevenage Borough Council and so many of the town’s retailers have whole- heartedly supported this initiative. “We know that people want to support


their local independent retailers but can’t always get into town during opening hours. The ShopAppy website and app allows customers to get around this problem. “They can order online from any number


of local shops and market stalls, purchase the various items altogether and then collect their shopping from a local pick up point in town later in the day, or whenever convenient.”


Plastics pledge at market


A good turnout of people arrived at a Leicestershire market recently to help launch a pioneering environmental campaign urging residents to take a ‘plastics pledge’ to help protect the planet. The well-attended event at Harborough Market on Friday January 25 was organised by Eco Church Harborough and Harborough District Council. Canon Brian Davis and Cllr Neil Bannister, leader of Harborough District Council, jointly launched the pledge and invited people from all over the district to make small changes to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics. Leicestershire County Council and Harborough District Waste Team were on hand to advise the public, with Eco Church handing out reusable coffee cups and water bottles to get people started on a path to re-using.


Cllr Neil Bannister said: “We are very


happy to support the pledge and I encourage others to do so. “Today has shown that there is both


an appetite and genuine passion for real change, and that if even half the people from today’s launch take the Harborough Plastics Pledge, it will collectively make a big difference.” Canon Brian Davis, who is leading the campaign, added: “I am delighted that so many people came along to the launch today and would like to thank Harborough District Council, FCC Environment and Meadowdale School in particular for their support. “Today is just the start though; we want


people to share the pledge principles, to commit to change and hopefully together, as a town, we can become a strong voice in the fight against single-use plastic.”


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