‘Powerful’ gift card initiative driving spend for Hereford indies

A cult burger restaurant, a heritage family run department store, and a luxury boutique hotel have been revealed as the most popular places for people to spend their Hereford Gift Card.

The Hereford Gift Card has reached a milestone of around £50,000 spent locally through the initiative, with the top three independent businesses to spend them announced as The Beefy Boys, Philip Morris and the Castle House Hotel.

The gift card can be spent with over 100 businesses in Hereford, spanning retail, leisure, health and beauty, accommodation and services.

Hereford brand The Beefy Boys opened in 2016 after four local lads turned their passion for burgers and BBQs and a win at the Las Vegas World Burger Championships into their own restaurant. After doubling the size of the Hereford restaurant in 2021, The Beefy Boys opened their Shrewsbury branch in 2021 and Cheltenham in 2023.

Co-founder and Director Anthony Murphy said the gift card is a way of supporting local in Hereford:

“The Beefy Boys is Hereford born and bred and we’re big champions of Hereford’s local and indie businesses. The high street has taken such a battering over recent years. The Hereford Gift Card is a win for the customer and a win for the community because it’s a great gift plus it also raises awareness of what businesses are doing and what’s on offer locally.

“If you have a Hereford Gift Card in your pocket, it will encourage you to go into and use your local businesses. Amazon doesn’t care if you spend £20 with them, but spend £20 in a local indie and it makes a huge difference. The more that we can continue to support local businesses and keep money local, the better. It’s a case of use them or lose them.

“As a Herefordian, I feel really proud that people are choosing to spend their gift cards with us and I hope people keep on spending them, not only with us, but with all of Hereford’s amazing indies. They really do need the support.”

Established in Hereford in 1845, family run department store Philip Morris sees gift card spend across each of its departments. Managing partner John Jones said:

“Philip Morris is a small, family run local business and it is a no-brainer for us to be a part of the Hereford Gift Card. We’ve got three parts of the shop; country clothing, hardware/homeware and footwear, and we definitely know that people are spending their Hereford Gift Card across all areas.

“Choice is a massive benefit of the card because people can spend it in the business that they like, on what they like. It’s very flexible and that is powerful when people are watching the pennies in the cost of living crisis.

“Both locals and tourists come into the shop to spend their gift card with us, especially those that have a local connection to Hereford who’ve been gifted the card. The Hereford Gift Card is positive because it spreads the Hereford message that we’re a place for a whole day out, or a weekend away.

“I’m really pleased to see that the Hereford Gift Card is working to keep money locked into Hereford. It’s very easy for us to accept the card, and we know that most people spend over and above the value on the card. This is an initiative that benefits a wide variety of businesses in Hereford.”

As well as shopping and eating out, recipients of the Hereford Gift Card are using it to stay overnight. George Watkins from the Castle House hotel said:

“Hereford and the county at large are changing. Many more people are discovering what a beautiful, off the beaten track, county Herefordshire is. What is also interesting is that many young Herefordians are now choosing to stay in the county and creating interesting and vibrant businesses, across many sectors, so initiatives like the Hereford Gift Card, which bring attention to what is on offer here, are very positive.

“Owned and run by our family for many years, Castle House is a boutique hotel with 24, individually designed luxury guest rooms.  No dull uniformity here, something our guests really appreciate. We have a light and spacious Waterside Restaurant & Bar which offers full English breakfast daily, as well as coffees and cakes. Lunches and afternoon teas are extremely popular and our quiet ‘secret garden’ is much sought after for al fresco dining and private events.

“My family has farmed in Herefordshire for nearly 200 years and the kitchen garden on our nearby Ballingham Hall farm supplies the hotel with fresh, seasonal produce.  We also rear pedigree Herefords which often feature on our menus, so it’s a true Farm to Fork story.

“We have guests that come from far and wide and so what’s good about the existence of the Hereford Gift Card is that it encourages people to come and visit and enjoy the full Hereford experience. It’s a great initiative to be a part of and we are flattered to be one of the most popular destinations in Hereford city.”

The Hereford Gift Card is driven by Hereford Business Improvement District. Mike Truelove, Chief Executive of Hereford BID said: “Over £30,000 of Hereford Gift Cards have been purchased to date, and with the typical overspend of 65%, that is over £50,000 spent locally in Hereford, which would likely have been spent elsewhere.

“This is a significant milestone for the Hereford Gift Card but we want to see even more organisations accepting the card, and even more people and organisations buying and spending the cards. From saying thank you to a teacher at the end of the term to rewarding employees, the Hereford Gift Card has so many uses and keeps money locked into our town.”

The Hereford Gift Card is part of the award winning Town and City Gift Card concept from payments provider Miconex, and is the first programme of its kind in Herefordshire.

Colin Munro is the Managing Director of Miconex: “The Hereford Gift Card works through the Mastercard system, meaning businesses accept the card like any other card payment with no additional equipment required. And it’s free. As we’ve seen from The Beefy Boys, Philip Morris and the Castle House Hotel, the gift card drives awareness and both new and repeat custom, across a range of sectors. If you’re not yet signed up, now is the time to do it.”

The Hereford Gift Card is available to buy from £5 online or from the Tourist Information Centre on St Owen Street.