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This month, local entrepreneurs Paul Lenihan, Tim Rooke and Greg Brant officially launch a new type of gift card which can be used across the city centre and suburbs, in a wide variety of independent businesses.

The OPEN gift card is designed to give people a genuine alternative to big retailer gift cards, by allowing them to spend locally and in doing so drive additional revenue into small independent businesses, helping to support the local economy.

OPEN gift card Co-Founder, Paul Lenihan said: “Now more than ever, small businesses need support. The OPEN gift card is designed to encourage people to think local and support many of the amazing independent businesses across the city, which need as much help as possible. The card can already be spent in up to 50 businesses across Leeds, with more being added each week. Not only will consumers have a great choice of where to spend their money, from eating out or trying yoga, to artisan gifts and a makeover, they can also support their local economy.”

Lots of small independent businesses across the city have been affected by the COVID 19 pandemic and OPEN gift card is designed to give these businesses support, by directing consumers to spend where needed, tapping into a growing appetite for socially-conscious shopping. It’s completely free for businesses to register, they simply pay a small commission on any purchases made with the card.

Tim Rooke Co-Founder the OPEN gift card said: “The card can be spent in any of the registered independent businesses. So you don’t have to worry about knowing the exact coffee shop or deli that someone uses, you simply buy them an OPEN gift card and they can spend it in places they use all the time, or of course, they can explore all those new places they’ve still not got round to trying yet!”

You can order an OPEN gift card online at www.opengiftcard.co.uk, or you can pick one up from any registered business. You simply load funds in your own time through the OPEN website and you can add from £10 to £120.  It works in the same way as a typical store gift card, the difference being the recipient can choose to spend the balance, in person, with a wide range of participating independent businesses located in and around the city centre and suburbs. You will be able to use OPEN gift cards with online only retailers in the new year.

The funds are available to spend for 24 months from the date the card is loaded.

Director of hair salon Haus of XS, Sara Turner said: “The OPEN gift card is a great opportunity for local people to support small businesses. The card will help drive footfall and support those independent businesses, like me, who have suffered terribly during the COVID pandemic and it’s vital that people help support their local independent businesses if we have any chance of survival. I’ve recently relocated my salon from the city centre to Chapel Allerton so it’s also a great way to help increase awareness to new customers at little cost.”

Owner of Chirpy, Jo McBeath said: 'I love the idea of a gift card which can help people shop with local, small, independent shops. An OPEN gift card is helping to form a community of like-minded indie businesses & giving customers an easy way to shop with them.'

The entrepreneurs have also recently joined forces with ‘Leeds Indie Food’ who have just launched a directory of over 700 local independents www.supportyourlocalindie.co.uk, and are also part of the #buyleeds campaign. If the card proves to be a success in Leeds, the company intend to roll out the concept nationally.

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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