This guest blog was originally a “letter to the Editor of the Ham & High”, but I liked it so much I asked Jessica if I could share it here…
I would like to thank each and every child and their parent(s) who participated in the Easter Egg Hunt which spanned the period 21 March – 10 April. It was a fun occasion with the 3 foot high Hampstead Egg provided by Hampstead School of Art and made and painted by local artist Sarah John. There was also a serious side – namely, to increase footfall on the high street to the benefit of Hampstead’s small and independent traders and to remind residents and visitors of the interesting and accessible shops we have in Hampstead. The hunt and the Hampstead Egg galvanised action to address this issue.
Dedicated website for the “Hampstead Shops Campaign”
The hunt’s dedicated website, www.hampsteadshopscampaign.co.uk contains a page of “Hampstead Angels” – those who helped to make the hunt possible with their help, including the Heath and Hampstead Society – who were all fantastic in their support, both financial and otherwise. To this list must be added all the traders who made the occasion so special. To all of these people I say thank you too.
Increased footfall & sales – mission accomplished!
The Hunt was a great success, being the first which spanned such a period. Many traders have reported an increase in footfall to their shops. Most visitors asked for the Easter egg stickers in order to ensure they could claim their chocolate lollipops. Others browsed and bought products from the traders. Overall, traders saw new faces visiting their shops, with some making purchases, with some visitors commenting that they did not know that the shop existed.
Up to 200 visitors to independent shops in Hampstead thanks to the Egg hunt!
On Flask Walk where the Hampstead egg was situated, one trader saw 200 visitors searching for the stickers and others 60/70. In Heath Street, one trader saw 60 visitors. Other traders had less visitors but the enthusiasm of the traders and the community was heartening in these straightened times. As Darius Endrius of Le Petit Nicola put it, there was a “sparkle in the eye” of customers and an excitement which was a positive experience.
“A ray of sunshine in the national crisis facing our high street”
This event was a small ray of sunshine in the national crisis facing our high street as consumers continue to take their purchasing power to the internet and out of town shopping centres. There is much in Hampstead which needs to be tackled so that families, residents and visitors are reminded that shopping in Hampstead is a fun and fulfilling opportunity.
Help support Hampstead Shops Campaign…
The Hampstead Shops Campaign is trying to tackle these very difficult issues. To help raise funds to help with its fight, the 3 foot Hampstead Egg will be auctioned on or around 4 May and funds raised will be split between the Hampstead School of Art and the Hampstead Shops Campaign. If you are interested, please keep an eye on the website www.hampsteadshopscampaign.co.uk for further information on the auction and do register your details on the site (if I do not have them already) if you would like to be kept up to date with developments on the shops front.