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‘What’s nice is that we’re getting lots of new faces through the door, and lots of younger people using the shop’

The Scotland Loves Local East Renfrewshire Gift Card can be spent with over 120 businesses across the region. East Renfrewshire Council distributed over 4500 £100 East Renfrewshire Gift Cards to low income households in November 2022, and one of the most popular places for people to redeem the card was Charles Frazer Quality Meats in Newton Mearns. Owner Stuart said:

“Charles Frazer is a family run, independent butchers, located in The Avenue Shopping Centre that has been here for 35 years. I run the shop with my wife, son and daughter. My son runs our e-commerce website and my daughter runs our accounts office.

“Small businesses have been through difficult times over recent years but in truth, the pandemic was easy compared to now. The one positive is that more people are shopping local. When we heard about the East Renfrewshire Gift Card, we thought it was an excellent idea to encourage people to shop local.

“At the moment, the cost of living crisis is affecting what people buy, and how much of it, they’re buying a wee bit less than they would normally. When money is tight, people are better off cooking for themselves. With 1lb of mince and a packet of spaghetti, you can feed your family, and it’s much more cost effective than ready meals.

“People have been using their gift cards on the regular meat products that they need but they’ve also used the gift card to be a bit adventurous and try something that they’ve never tried before. So alongside the mince and pork chops in their basket, they’ve maybe added a couple of crocodile steaks or some venison. Everyone needs a little treat, especially when times are hard. Over Christmas, people were able to use their gift card to get their Christmas turkey.

“If you think about the number of local businesses that you walk past but never go in for one reason or another, the gift card is the push that people need to be more adventurous in where they shop and what they buy. A lot of the people who were in our shop using the East Renfrewshire Gift Card had probably never been into The Avenue Shopping Centre before, or even to Newton Mearns before.

“What’s nice is that we’re getting lots of new faces through the door, and lots of younger people using the shop. A core objective for any small business is new customers. Charles Frazer has been here for 34 years and has a lot of valued, older customers but we also need new younger customers who understand and appreciate the value of shopping local so we can be here for another 34 years.

“We’re also getting repeat business through the gift card. Shopping local is like a club, you get to know the staff, you have a chat, you enjoy the products when you get home and you develop a loyalty to the shop. Being a part of the gift card is easy as pie and has been really positive for our business.”