Gift the city: Hereford launches city wide gift card
Hereford’s oldest department store, a brand new business selling house plants, and a continental bar are three of the Hereford businesses celebrating the launch of a new city wide gift card programme. The Hereford Gift Card is a local gift card that can be spent with over 100 businesses across the city, and is the first scheme of its kind in Herefordshire.
Established in Hereford in 1845, family run department store Philip Morris is one of the businesses that will accept the new Hereford Gift Card. Managing partner John Jones runs the Widemarsh Street shop with his brother Bruce:
“175 years since we opened Philip Morris as an ironmongers, and we are proud to be one of Hereford’s oldest businesses. Online is a large part of our business and we were able to move many staff into online operations during the retail closures, but we remain fully committed to the high street; it is who we are and what we do. The signs of recovery in Hereford are very encouraging, particularly in comparison to other cities, and with the Hereford Gift Card, we can build on that.
“It makes total sense for us to have our own gift card in Hereford. Anything that encourages people to think local and shop local is to be encouraged. Philip Morris has its own gift card but the Hereford Gift Card is universal to the city and has wider appeal. I’m a great believer in what can be achieved if we work together. By collaborating, we can create a better experience for customers and flourish collectively. It makes a massive difference when people shop locally. If all the money that used to be spent outside of Hereford was spent in the city, it would transform Hereford.”
Hereford Gift cards can be purchased from £5 to £500, and spent like a debit card with Hereford businesses including Printer + Tailor, La Madeleine, Fodder organic wholefood shop, Church Street café Rocket, jeweller C.V Osborne, Timothy Hawkins Gallery and The Coffee Cart Company.
Hereford’s newest business, Löv Leaf, a shop dedicated to house plants also accepts the new Hereford Gift Card. Steph Sparks is the owner of Löv Leaf, located on Hereford’s Church Street:
“I opened Löv Leaf in Hereford at the end of July 2021 and it’s going really well so far. House plant shops are slowly starting to pop up around the UK, mainly in London and the larger cities. When it came to opening Löv Leaf, Hereford, and Church Street in particular, was my number one choice, it is full of quirky independent shops and offers a great shopping experience. The support I’ve had from locals has been amazing. Of course, there are days when it’s quieter.
“I think the Hereford Gift Card is such a great idea. If you’re buying someone a gift and don’t know what to get for them, you can get a Hereford Gift Card and they have so many options. A Hereford Gift Card is a window to the whole of Hereford, and will help people to discover new businesses. Customers get that personal service when they come into the shop and a lifetime of advice too. Rather than every shop having its own gift card, it makes sense for us all to work together to create one fantastic gift card for Hereford.
“The pandemic encouraged us to invest more in our home environments, it became not only home but a work and social space too. Working from home was never for me though, and the pandemic was the catalyst for me to leave the tourism industry and set up Löv Leaf. I could never have envisaged running my own shop before covid, but there are so many benefits of surrounding ourselves with green plants like improved mental wellbeing.”
As well as retail businesses, leisure, services and hospitality businesses are part of the Hereford Gift Card. Gary Waring is the owner of Hereford’s popular Left Bank venue and said the Hereford Gift Card will be useful:
“Left Bank is similar to a French continental bar, it’s a place for people to meet and socialise over a drink. When we were closed due to covid, we put seating in place for over 500 people and that helped us to weather the storm. We also stopped taking cash during the pandemic, so the Hereford Gift Card will be another way people can pay. I think it will be successful.”
Hereford Business Improvement District is behind the new Hereford Gift Card, and all Hereford BID businesses are able to join the Hereford Gift Card, free of charge.
Mike Truelove, Chief Executive of Hereford BID said: “Hereford is leading the way in the county by introducing its own gift card. It reinforces Hereford as a brand, and as an appealing city that people want to visit. Retail footfall is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels, the Hereford Gift Card gives our city an extra layer of support, particularly as we approach the Christmas period.”
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: “A cathedral city with great shopping, dining and leisure, the Hereford Gift Card has the potential to be hugely successful. There are around 30,000 households in Hereford. If every household bought, or was gifted, a £10 Hereford Gift Card, that would be £300,000 going into the Hereford economy, supporting local businesses, local people and local jobs.”
The Hereford Gift Card is a prepaid Mastercard and is available to buy now, online or from the Tourist Information Centre on St Owen Street.