You’re an Exeter independent trader, you’re curious about local currency and you certainly wouldn’t say no to the boost in advertising we will bring. But there’s still one nagging question: when I get it, what do I do with it?
We’ll be visiting you soon to convince you of all the weird and wonderful ways you can put your £Es to good use, but after a recent trip to Bristol I wanted to share one message we came back with.
Every individual, every business we spoke to used Bristol Pounds differently.
In one vintage store they only accept £Bs in cash, and then usually they use it to go grab some lunch in the local market just up the road.
Marc, owner of a local cafe keeps his £Bs in a safe and every few months uses them to pay his business rates, then passing the responsibility to the council to spend locally.
I spoke to a barista in a little cafe who said she sometimes got her wages in £Bs depending on the week. They also sometimes used them to pay their suppliers (mainly for eggs and milk!)
The second hand bookstore nearby received most £Bs by text, and the owner there was saving them up in his online account.
Lucy, of Beast designs, one of the city’s cash exchange points spoke to us passionately about local currency, and the importance of making that extra effort to support those independent businesses that make her high street special. For her the role of exchange point was no extra burden, and was completely worthwhile, for the benefits it brought to her local community.
A small haberdashery shop nearby was in the process of looking into signing up. Three years after their launch, the scheme in Bristol is still growing. It is important to remember that the amount of £Es you are likely to see coming in as a business is very likely to start small, and stay small as the scheme finds its feet. This will be a slow transition towards our goals, but we soon hope to see the kind of benefits Bristol has already seen: a stronger local economy, greater community cohesion and a more vibrant high street.