Totally Locally Axminster is set to launch a new ‘Fiver Fest’ initiative in the drive to win support for the town’s hard pressed independent traders.
Axminster is one of dozens of towns across the country joining the latest high profile national campaign, which will run from 10 to 24 October. The local organising team is hoping for a string of good value offers to drive home the key message that if every adult spent £5 a week locally that they would otherwise have spent online or with national stores it would pump £1.8m a year into the Axminster economy.
“Many Axminster businesses were fighting to keep their heads above the water before coronavirus came along, so the imperative to support those who have come out the other side is a strong one,” says Barrie Hedges of the Archway Bookshop. “It needs only a small change in individual spending habits to bring about a big shift in fortunes for the town you care about.”
There was gloom in the town when the owners of the department store which previously operated Trinity House announced its closure last November. The building was, however, bought by Axminster Property and is undergoing a swift transition, with eight of its nine potential shop and business units now taken or under discussion. The Lou La Belle boutique, which opened in the first restored unit in June, has quickly become a success, and The Crafty Hobbit gift and crafts shop is due to open next door in October. Meanwhile, the popular Waffle Community House has announced its plans to take over the whole of the first floor with a much extended operation towards the end of the year.
Jane Rockett of Axminster Printing is one of the business people with confidence in the future of the town centre. “The massive turnaround that is underway with the restoration of Trinity House has brought a new sense of anticipation to Axminster,” she said. “We now need to turn that into a greater belief in the town as a whole – and with it a bigger shopper footfall.”
Jane and brother Keith Rockett are prime examples of the spirit that exists amongst Axminster’s independent traders. They kept their printing and stationery business going single handed through the early stages of the lockdown when there was no choice but to furlough staff and made home deliveries to those unable to collect.
The new Fiver Fest is open to any independent business in Axminster or the immediate area that sells to the public. Each business will be provided with point-of-sale posters to promote their chosen fiver offers. Traders are being asked to sign up by 18 September and can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.