Boroughbridge to join shop local initiative

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BOROUGHBRIDGE is set to be the next Yorkshire market town to join an initiative aiming to encourage shoppers to use small independent shops.

Ilkley was in the vanguard of English towns to adopt the Phlok – a virtual loyalty currency which rewards consumers who ‘shop local’.

Shoppers accumulate Phlok points, which can be collected from, and spent in, any business signed up to the scheme. The concept was first introduced in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, where businesses in more than 30 towns are members.

Co-founders of the independent community interest company Enterprise Rockers, Tina Boden and Tony Robinson OBE, have been spearheading the idea in West Yorkshire – but meetings have now been held with traders from Boroughbridge.

The town already benefits from the Love Boroughbridge cooperative, set up to promote the community as a retail destination through the printed, broadcast and online media.

However, as more than 90 per cent of the businesses in the town centre are small independents, traders are looking at taking on board the Phlok as the next step.

“It seems there’s a good chance we’ll get the critical mass we need to make the idea work well in Boroughbridge,” said Love Boroughbridge spokeswoman Louise Leong.

“We have been told we need a minimum of 15 businesses to sign up to make it worthwhile and our experience over the last few months suggests there’s an appetite for fresh ideas – particularly if they help to reinforce the ‘shop local’ message.”

When the customer spends Phlok points, Phlok pays the receiving business full value for the points spent. The business then gets full price for its item or service while the customer gets something for free.