By Heidi Early
Think local, shop local is the message currently circulating in Stoke Newington thanks to the introduction of the Wedge Card
The Wedge is a loyalty scheme being run among independent shops, restaurants and businesses. Anyone can buy a card for £20 – £5 of which is donated to a charity of the shopkeeper’s choice, or if you buy online £10 goes to a charity of your choice – and then use the card anywhere displaying the Wedge Card logo to get something for free or a discount. Each business has a unique offer and regularly changes the discount.
The brains behind the scheme is Big Issue founder, and London Mayor hopeful, John Bird. Speaking at the recent launch of the W.Edge Card magazine – think Big Issue but full of special offers – Bird explained why he was backing the independents: ‘We have to arrest the destruction of the high street otherwise we will end up with a lifeless world full of vast warehouses. Where we are encouraged to overshop and then return defeated to our homes. What a recipe for social disaster.’ He added: ‘The Wedge Card is a practical way to help you support your local high street. It gives you the means to help by giving you extra reasons to shop locally. It gives you breaks, offers and discounts only open to Wedge Card members.’
Bridget Pedgrift, co-owner of Bored on Board on Church Street, believes the Wedge is perfect for Stoke Newington. ‘The independent shops are a big part of the “villagey” feel that Stoke Newington is renowned for and we hope the Wedge Card will encourage more people to support their local shops and businesses and really help the community. John Bird is right, if we don’t do something now the supermarket giants will take over.’
Wedge is London-wide at the moment, (check out www.wedgecard.co.uk for details of other areas that accept the card) but plans to take the scheme nationwide are afoot. Plus, a national ‘shop local’ day is being organised for later in the year.
Daisy Greenwell, editor of W.Edge magazine, summed up why Wedge works: ‘It’s small, independent shops that give an area flavour. They give you more choice in what to buy. Chains focus only on top-selling products – not that unknown brand, vintage trainer or weirdly good cheese. Where we shop is as important as how we vote. Our local shops create our environment. Use your vote wisely.’
Stoke Newington businesses selling and accepting Wedge Cards: Askew, Blue Legume, Bored on Board, Born, Casino, Earlybird cards & gifts, Flowers N16, Frere Jacques, GK Locksmiths, Kontakt, Lemon Grass, Metal Crumble, Olive Loves Alfie, Red , Rosa, Route 73 Kids, Shmooze, Sunstone Women, The Spence , Two wheels good, Yogahome, Yum Yum
Heidi runs Earlybird on Church Street