Hounslow £20 vouchers bring new customers to Chiswick shops

In September LB Hounslow despatched £20 vouchers to every household in the borough as means to help the local economy recover from the impact of COVID-19. The council hoped the vouchers would bring residents back into local shopping areas, helping them provide the extra customer demand necessary to protect and retain jobs.

Hounslow households received a unique individual code by post and have until 7 December 2021 to spend the voucher on products or services at a range of businesses including: cafes, cinemas, restaurants, health and wellbeing organisations, laundrettes and retailers of all sorts.

Fiona Wallis, owner of Snapdragon toyshop on Turnham Green Terrace, told The Chiswick Calendar the vouchers had made a big difference to her. They had been attracting customers to her shop from further afield – people who told her they had forgotten about the toyshop until they saw it on the list of businesses taking part in the scheme.

Prompted by Fiona’s comment, Matt Smith has been out talking to participating Chiswick businesses around the High Rd to find out whether, nearly two months after the vouchers were sent out, her experience is common and businesses are feeling the benefit.

READ ALSO: £20 COVID vouchers… which shops you can use them in?

Images above: Bayley & Sage, Turnham Green Terrace

Bayley & Sage – 33 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, W4 1RG

Bayley & Sage welcomed its first customers to its Wimbledon village store in 1997 and now serve six more London communities including Chiswick, with a shop on Turnham Green Terrace offering the best of the season whether its fruit, vegetables, meat or cheese.

On the whole the vouchers have been a boon for the business. One of the store’s managers, Nicoletta, said many people had been using them.

“Yeah [we have had] quite a lot at first actually. Now we have at least three or four people per week which is cool… We have new customers coming in as well people who come here every day, which is quite nice to see.”

Overall she said the scheme had been beneficial to the business, but operationally she said there had been a snag with the way the app worked:

“We use the app and scan everything via the app, but once it’s been processed it’s difficult to actually see the payments. For the business [the vouchers are] a good thing but this is the only problem. [The scheme] itself is actually amazing – I think it’s a nice thing that the council did and it’s nice for all the customers who come here too.”

Bayley and Sage are open seven days a week from 8.00 am to 9.00 pm.

0208 995 4145

bayley-sage.co.uk

Images above: Hack & Veldt, Turnham Green Terrace

Hack & Veldt – 94 Turnham Green Terrace, W4 1QN

Hack & Veldt is an independent deli which offers a wide range of goods, including pastries, cheeses and charcuterie, artisan breads, Monmouth coffee, craft beers, natural wines and pantry staples, including flour.

Owner Maike, said:

“We’ve had quite a few through, it has been quite popular. It’s not huge numbers … maybe five times per week on average.”

Maike said the vouchers have been popular with regular customers, but she suspects there has been little new custom brought in. She added there had been a couple of teething problems when the app first launched.

“We did have some issues right at the beginning because a number of people set up their accounts but lots of them didn’t work on Android phones, but we got it sorted in the end.

“Overall I think it’s great – it’s a free £20 isn’t it? I wish I wasn’t living on that side of the road, because it’s so close but we’re in Ealing [and weren’t eligible for a voucher].”

Hack & Veldt are open Monday to Friday from 07.00 am to 8.00 pm and on Saturday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 7.00 pm.

0208 742 0563

hackandveldt.com

Images above: The Old Cinema, Chiswick High Rd

The Old Cinema – 160 Chiswick High Rd, London W4 1PR

The Old Cinema is an antique and vintage department store, opened on Chiswick High Road in 1979. Recently named in the ‘100 best shops’ in the world by Retail Week, this former Edwardian picture house boasts 10,000 sq ft of showrooms and is home to a collective of antiques dealers, decorators, designers, and jewellers.

Paul, one of the managers, told me he was surprised only a few people had been turning up to use the vouchers.

“I haven’t seen as many as I thought I would to be honest. The uptake wasn’t as much as I thought it would be … We probably have less than one per week coming in to use them. I don’t know what the reach is and I don’t know how widely advertised it is. I could probably count on two hands the amount of sales we have done with e-vouchers.”

Even so Paul was full of praise for the scheme and said that generally the feedback from customers had been positive, with most saying they were glad to have the extra £20 to spend. However, Paul had the sense that not enough people either knew about the scheme in general, or not enough residents knew that The Old Cinema was one of the shops where the vouchers were accepted.

The Old Cinema is open Monday to Saturday from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm & on Sunday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.

0208 995 4166

theoldcinema.co.uk

Image above: Chiswick Pets, Devonshire Road

Chiswick Pets – 32-34 Devonshire Rd, London W4 2HD

Chiswick Pets has been open on Devonshire Road more than 20 years. Aside from the basics such as pet food and pet toys, they also stock a selection of small mammals, fish, reptiles, insects and amphibians for sale. Over time they have expanded their services to include a holiday boarding service for small animals and reptiles, home visits for cats, and in May 2013, they launched their own grooming service.

A member of staff told me the vouchers had been “really popular at the beginning”, with up to three people a day coming into the store to redeem their £20. Since then popularity has largely tapered out, likely due to regular customers using up their vouchers already. However, staff noted many new customers who were not regulars:

“They came here to specifically use the voucher and they were really happy to” one member of staff told me.

Since the shop did not have scanning facilities, they had not been redeeming customers’ vouchers via the e-voucher app initially. Instead they requested customers bring in the paper copy which had been mailed to their house. This seems to have worked well for them, with many of the operational issues in other shops stemming from scanning the QR codes on people’s phones at the point of sale desk.

Chiswick Pets is open Monday to Saturday from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm and on Sunday from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm.

0208 747 0715

chiswickpets.co.uk

Image above: Up & Running, Chiswick High Road

Up & Running – 242 Chiswick High Road, W4 1PD

Up & Running is a specialist shop for runners which aims to provide all that a runner could need. It is part of a small chain of independent shops that started nearly 30 years ago in Yorkshire when runner Gillian Macfarlane found she could not get the clothing or equipment she wanted. Gillian and her husband Dennis opened their first shop in 1992 and now have 28 stores nationwide.

Store manager George Russell said the coupons were pretty popular when they were first introduced, but, echoing what other shops have been saying, the frequency with which they see them is now wearing off.

“I think it’s good because a lot of people got them so it will have rejuvenated the high street a bit. We had quite a few turn up, which is good. We’ve got the sticker on the door now which helps. Quite a few people like it [the voucher scheme].

George said it was pretty simple to redeem the vouchers on the computer at their point of sale desk, so functionally there hasn’t been many issues, if any at all.

“You just type in the six letter code into the app – it’s not very hard at all. It’s slightly annoying on a busy Saturday when you’re trying to do it as quick as you can and free up the queue, but on the whole it’s easy enough”.

Generally George said the business had benefited from the vouchers, especially with the business being relatively new (it opened in July 2021). If the council would like to repeat the exercise next year he’d be very happy.

Up & Running is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 6.30 pm, Saturday from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm and on Sunday from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.

0203 924 6600

upandrunning.co.uk/up-running-chiswick

Image above: Bookcase, Chiswick High Road

Bookcase London – 268 Chiswick High Rd, London W4 1PD

Bookcase London has been open in Chiswick since 1993. The independent shop has been serving the local and wider community with new books at bargain prices since then. A browse through Bookcase’s category listings will give you an idea of the range and depth of titles they offer at ‘heavily discounted prices’.

One of the managers, Dan, said there was an initial wave of customers redeeming their e-vouchers when the scheme first started, which then lulled for a while. But the lull didn’t last for long, as now they are back to having plenty of customers queuing to spend their free £20.

Dan said he thought the vouchers had been generally beneficial to the business, because it had led to a spike in custom which they otherwise would bot have:

“We get maybe three or four per day which is quite a lot for us, we’re not necessarily the busiest shop in the world.”

Again, there were slight hitches during the rollout, but Dan said they were quickly resolved once they had been flagged up.

“We couldn’t get through to [e-vouchers] at first. The process of cashing one in is you send off an email and you get back a kind of password email, but that stopped working so we got in touch with them and they gave us a different way of logging in. It works fine now.”

Bookcase London is open Monday to Saturday from 10.00am to 6.00pm and on Sunday from 11.00am to 6.00pm.

0208 742 3919

bookcaselondon.co.uk

Residents of Hounslow have until 7 December to use their voucher. See which Chsiwick shpos accept them here: £20 COVID vouchers… which shops you can use them in?

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Retail: “I’ve never had to wwork so hard in my life”

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See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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