By Lucy Webb
Columbines beauty salon celebrated its 25th year of trading last month, so who better than its founder and owner Ann Winney to come up with a fantastic idea to promote shopping in our High Street?
You may have started to notice some great little jute bags on people’s shoulders recently with the words: ‘Think First, Shop Hurst and support local!’. Indeed, they have been spotted as far afield as Burgess Hill, but what is the story behind them?
Ann explained: “I was conscious that there were a lot of new properties being built in the village, so therefore lots of newcomers. I felt it was important to encourage these new residents to shop locally. Then I came up with the idea of the bags to help bring our High Street to people’s attention.”
Available for free to new residents, they are distributed by estate agents and development sales offices, so when you collect the keys to your new home you get a jute bag full of goodies. Each one contains contact information, special offers and free samples from many of our High Street businesses. These include wild bird seed from the pet shop, toothbrush and toothpaste from the dentist and a wooden spatula from the Cook Shop.
The bags themselves are also available to everyone from many of the High Street shops for £3, and are a fantastic, environmentally friendly way of spreading the ‘shop local’ message.
The bags, although the brain child of Ann who rallied High Street businesses to get involved and filled them all too, were paid for by the Parish Council, Hurst Community shop and the Co-op, with all proceeds from sales going back into buying more bags.
Ann commented: “Our High Street has seen a lot of changes over the years, with shops coming and going. At one time we had a lot of banks and then most of them closed. Everyone thought it would be the end of the High Street; but we’re still here. We are all doing what we can to make Hurst a real destination for local shoppers.”
It’s no doubt that Ann’s positivity and drive have contributed towards her business being so successful over the years, and this can-do attitude is an important factor in helping the High Street to become as great and profitable as we all know it can be.