‘We must show what potential we have’

Claire Hanson of Nood Food'Picture by Jane Coltman
Claire Hanson of Nood Food'Picture by Jane Coltman

A Northumberland shop owner has received a mixed response to a new campaign to drive more shoppers into Alnwick.

Claire Hanson opened the region’s first clean food eatery in 2014, now she is embarking on a mission to bring shoppers back to Alnwick.

Claire’s brand ‘We Love Local’, has already attracted support from as far as Darlington.

The scheme works in a similar way to a student discount card. Alnwick shoppers will be asked to pay £10 for a year’s membership for discounts to participating businesses.

But some shop owners believe asking their customers to fork out £10 a year would not be a viable option.

Paul Scrimshaw, of Marilyn and Melrose, on Narrowgate, was one of the shop owners who said there were ‘pros and cons’ with the scheme.

“We do not know how the scheme will work spread across loads of shops, I don’t think you can convince people to pay and sign up,” he said, but insisted they were not a no yet.

These sentiments were echoed by the Alnwick Chamber of Trade chairman Carlo Biagioni, who said: “We would like to see more detail to see exactly what is involved.”

Carlo, who sits at the top of more than 80 businesses in the area, said the group was ‘100 per cent behind the scheme’ despite concerns.

Claire said that since owning a shop in Alnwick, it was easy to see why people were shopping elsewhere.

“The focus is about building Alnwick as a town again, reinvesting in the economy, giving people a reason to shop locally, rather than going further afield.

“We must show what potential we have and if you can get a lot of your things in Alnwick, you’ll stay in Alnwick.”

But, to counter the negativity, Claire has received support from more than 30 businesses in the area.

Lynn Hope, owner of Sun Vision, who already has discount offers, said it was important to think of the customers.

“We rely on loyal locals and locals coming and shopping in our shops so a discount scheme could be a thank-you to them.”

Lisa Aynsley, of Hotspur 1364, agreed: “We think it’s great that something positive is happening in the town, and would encourage people to support the scheme.”

Contact Claire via email at alnwick@welove-local.com/Launch an email to alnwick@welove-local.com if you are interested in helping.