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Independent Derry makes shopping a local affair

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by Startacus Admin

independent derry
Championing the Vibrant Independent Businesses of Derry. 

As Small Business Saturday 2017 approaches (Saturday 2nd December) we took a look at one 'shop local' initiative that has taken off in Derry, NI over the past year.

Startacus has recently had its eye on a shop local initiative that has taken off in Derry, NI over the past year - Independent Derry.

Independent Derry was launched to offer an alternative to the "big guys" and to help take local shoppers through the doors of the vibrant independent businesses that the North West city has to offer. Jemma Duffy, the founder, set out to create a platform for independent culture by showcasing the unique independents around Derry and encouraging both local people and visitors to the city alike to #supportlocal.

Launched one year ago, as a small plastic Independent Derry card, the idea was to reward shoppers for independent derryshopping locally, by creating an incentive to bring people through the door into local shops. Valid for 12 months, the Independent Derry ID card allowed cardholders to receive discounts and offers in a range of independents including coffee shops, restaurants, craft shops and theatres.

Last November saw the initiative begin with just just 13 businesses involved. However this number has now quadrupled, with over 50 independent businesses becoming part of the initiative alongside 600+ cardholders, most of which use their card to discover and try new places every day, saving some money whilst they’re at it. 

The card itself has in turn created a group of people who are loyal and committed to shopping locally and depend on using their card throughout the week for eating out, grabbing a coffee, doing some general shopping or even going to the gym. With year one coming to an end, original customers are returning for their second year card, eager to stay part of the initiative and to continue supporting the businesses involved. It seems the shop local mentality in the city is bigger than ever and Independent Derry has certainly helped play a part in that.

independent derryOne of the highlights for the business in year one was when they had registered 50 businesses on the card. It was a pretty significant achievement and a moment of genuine realisation that local businesses were keen to get behind the idea and wanted to become part of it.

Independent Derry has also opened other doors for Jemma as she has recently joined the Walled City Open Coffee team - an initiative aimed at introducing late night coffee culture to the city and which has been created by Your Derry, (a people-led network with a focus on discussing and facilitating all sorts of positive initiatives in the city) Nice. 

The Open Coffee initiative entails one of the city's independent coffee shops remaining open until 10pm on one night of the week, thereby giving local people somewhere to go after work to socialise, chill out or do some work, whilst also providing them with an alternative to the pub and in turn helping to bring the city on a par with others in terms of its evening economy. Since the Independent Derry Card can now be used across all cafés who part of the WCOC initiative - it's proven to be a win-win all round. 

Big Plans...

Moving forward, Jemma will be launching the second edition of the Independent Derry Card later this month to celebrate moving into Year 2 and a local artist has even designed an image for the card which represents the city (Jemma can’t wait for everyone to see it)...Cafe in the Park

An Independent Derry app is also being developed, and will aim to provide cardholders with another platform to easily find out information about where and when their card can be used. Once the dust has settled with the new card and the app, you can expect to see some Independent Derry events happening around the city. With Jemma’s background in Events Management she hopes to put this to good use to further help fly the flag for the innovative Independent Derry initiative.

Big high-5's to Jemma, a recent graduate, for rolling with this fab initiative - and as Small Business Saturday approaches, perhaps now is a good time to consider how you can also support and shop local. 

N.B. If you are reading this from Derry or are planning to visit the city soon, the Independent Derry card can currently be purchased both online and at a number of independent local shops including RoCo Hair, Yellow Moon Clothing, Guildhall Taphouse, The Pickled Duck Cafe, Spaghetti Junction, St Jude Eatery and also at the local  Tourist Information Centre.

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Published on: 24th November 2017

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