Who came up with the idea?
The idea was first conceived by Tracy Stant of Josie, who believed that there was a need to offer shoppers greater flexibility from independent businesses with their opening hours. Other businesses quickly showed their support and were keen to get involved as part of the Stone Traders Group. Nicola Lewis of Mirella offered to help Tracy spearhead the campaign, offering some initial wisdom in to how to make the campaign work for the many and not just the few. The Stone Traders Group (STG) is a group of independent business owners with businesses in Stone that meet each month to discuss ways of working to improve the town centre, liaising with the Town Council, Borough Council & the Travel & Tourism committee.
What’s the idea behind it?
As a group we decided that a focused campaign to open late one night a month, would allow busy Stone residents & visitors who often have work, childcare or other commitments, who are unable to shop in the town during the normal trading hours the opportunity to pop into town and do some after hours shopping.
Will all of the shops be open?
The campaign is to eventually get all businesses to buy in to the idea, we currently have 21 businesses signed up to the campaign who wouldn’t normally be open, along with many hairdressers, beauty salons, restaurants & bars/pubs who already open during these hours. Some businesses will be open until 8pm, but we ask all shoppers to check with independent businesses what time they will be staying open until, to avoid any disappointment. You can do this by following them on Social media or give them a call to check in advance. We hope that as word gets out and businesses get busier, that more businesses will follow suit and join in and stay open later.
The followimg businesses will be open: Apple A Day Juice Bar, Beth Lauren Cakes, The Bike Shack, Evangelines, Granvilles, Griffins of Stone, Jolu Accessories Boutique, Just Carla, Man A Boot Town, Mirella, Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shop, Plants the Jewellers, Posy, DSimon David Hairdressing, Stone Baked Cafe, The Artisan Boutique, The Beauty Loft, Yum Yum’s, Thoughts, & Tylman of Stone.
When is it happening?
Where can I Park?
The Stafford Borough Council offer free parking after 5.30 on both Crown Street & Christchurch Way car parks. There is also free street parking on Station Road by Granville Square after 4pm , as well as the free ” All Day” car park on Northesk Street.
Will there be anything else happening in the high street?
At this stage there are no plans to have any additional high street attractions, as we want the focus to be on the many wonderful independent shops and businesses we already have in the town,
How can we keep updated about the latest goings on or offers on the late night shopping nights and future events?
Follow the Stone Independent Traders facebook page for all the latest updates, or any of your favourite independents, most of them have a facebook page. Alternatively, call or pop into town and pay them a visit, they are a friendly bunch who love to share all the positive points and events that are going on in the town.
Whilst we know the high street has suffered a down turn, Stone statistically is still fairing better than many other towns nationwide. The last year has been a tough one with several businesses closing their doors, the reduction in bus services, the loss of the co-op and post office etc. However, we are looking forward to the coming late nights and the increase in other businesses taking up empty units over the coming months. This year we have seen a number of businesses open their doors… Beth Lauren Cakes, Man A Boot Town, Just Carla, The Artisan Boutique, Vantage Creative, The Loft Tea Room and of course M & S Food & Cafe. We’ve also had a number of businesses move into better locations…. Apple A Day, The Beauty Loft, Jolu, with Mirella set to move into the old Nat West bank unit later this autumn too. Finally, we are also looking forward to the arrival of Bear coffee, B&M, and getting our Post Office back this October!
So if you haven’t been in town for awhile, it maybe worth having a look at all the great businesses that are actually there this coming late night.
Tracy told the Gazette
” Following the success of the late night shopping events this summer, and the ever changing needs of our customers, I together with other retailers, feel our customers would benefit from an evening to shop outside of the normal operating hours. We want to add some flexibility to residents of Stone, and hope that those who would prefer to shop outside the usual hours can do so. Hopefully our initial trial of staying open on the first Thursday of every month until Christmas will prove worthwhile.If so, we hope to make the evenings a more permanent event on the calendar for 2019″
Nicola told the Gazette
“The plan to open late on the 1st Thursday of every month was to make it easy for Stone residents & visitors to understand when the town would be open for business. Everyone knows that the Farmers market is the first Saturday, so it made sense to follow that winning formula…using the first Thursday as our guide. It’s also a time in the month when most people have the means to go shopping, as the majority of people generally receive their wages at the end of each month, although we know this doesn’t apply to everyone. Tracy & I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our fellow traders for being so very responsive and open to the late night shopping events, and also to Martyne Manning from Stafford Borough Council for all her help & support in funding the marketing of the late night events through the flyers & posters.”