Cinema offer to boost market traders

SHOPPERS in a market town are being encouraged to support local shops by the offer of free cinema tickets.

John Howard

SHOPPERS in a market town are being encouraged to support local shops by the offer of free cinema tickets.

Stowmarket Town Council has introduced the market loyalty scheme which will see regular customers rewarded with free visits to the cinema at the town council-run Regal Theatre.

It is part of an initiative to boost market traders in the town, with market rents also being cut.

The market loyalty scheme will work by shoppers being given a loyalty card by participating traders and a sticker after spending �3 or more. Ten stickers can be exchanged for a free cinema ticket at the Regal.

Daniel Harvey, public services manager at the town council, said: “These two initiatives will hopefully be a real boost to our traders and help the market to thrive.

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“The loyalty scheme should attract more people into the market and will encourage people to spend that little bit extra in order to get their sticker and ultimately their free cinema ticket.

“As for the rent reductions, we know that things are tough at the moment and we want to make things a bit easier financially for the traders.”

There are currently 17 permanent traders in the community, selling everything from fresh fish and meat to fruit and vegetables and flowers.

Anne Whybrow, mayor, said: “This is a fantastic idea. We have a superb cinema for people to go and visit and this will be a boost for our traders.

“People come from so far afield to shop in Stowmarket because they love it. I know people who even come here from Thetford to shop, because they love our community.

“We have got to look at every opportunity to encourage the trading in the town to help boost our local economy. Our independent retailers make the town the friendly environment which it is.”

The market fees reduction will take effect from this month and will see fees for permanent traders at the Thursday and Friday market reduce from �1.59 per ft to �1.40 per ft.

Casual traders will pay �1.50 per ft on Thursdays and �1.40 per ft on Saturdays, instead of �1.59 both days.

In addition to the reduction in street market charges, the charges for the farmers market, which takes place on the first Friday of every month, will reduce from �19 per stall to �17 per stall.