There have been multiple nominations for iconic Isle of Wight business Hurst in the national competition – any local business can be nominated, with...
To be the UK’s Favourite Local Business is an accolade that we are extremely proud of
Over 130 businesses are part of the Wight Gift Card, including W. Hurst & Son, voted Town & City Gift Cards UK’s Favourite Local Business 2022. The Wight G
Over 130 businesses are part of the Wight Gift Card, including W. Hurst & Son, voted Town & City Gift Cards UK’s Favourite Local Business 2022. The Wight Gift Card was introduced by the Isle of Wight Council in November 2020 to encourage residents and visitors to shop locally and keep spend on the island.
Jevon Kennedy is the managing director of Hurst:
Please tell us about Hurst
“Hurst is based on the Isle of Wight, established in 1859 so some would say we are iconic. We have 6 locations on the Island and a team of friendly and helpful people who are part of the local community themselves. In our branches, many of our staff are on first name terms with our customers. Some of our customers are older, and the interaction they have with our team might be the only human contact they have that day. We genuinely want to help and it’s more than a job for our team.
“Our roots are in agriculture but we have evolved over the years to become a strong retailer, selling everything from DIY and homeware to gifts and garden. We also have our website and a fleet of drivers out delivering orders across the Isle of Wight every day. Customer experience is everything and we have never lost sight of that. Our mission statement is putting the customer first and being proud to serve the local community. We also sell single units so a customer can buy a single bolt if that’s what they require. There are not many retailers that still do that.
“Last year, we supported Isle of Wight Day and are the distribution points for Isle of Wight bunting. We’re also a drop off point for the Isle of Wight Food Bank, and we donate sales of our carrier bags to local charities. We have an obligation to serve our community, and they help us by shopping with us.”
Why are you a part of the Wight Gift Card and what benefits does it bring?
“Being a part of any local scheme is a definite win for us. We know that the Wight Gift Card is being used across our local community and as a local retailer it makes natural sense that we would be involved in the scheme. The Wight Gift Card offers another alternative for customers to shop with us.
“We’ve also found that customers use the Wight Gift Card with us who maybe haven’t shopped with us before, or haven’t shopped with us in a long time. We’ve accepted a lot of trade through the scheme and it’s allowed us to ensure we are opening our doors to more customers. We’re very proud to say we are part of the scheme. There’s such a strong sense of community on the Isle of Wight that we’d be foolish not to be a part of the gift card.
“We’ve ensured that our staff are aware of how to accept the cards but it’s as easy as any other method of payment.”
How did you feel about the Isle of Wight Council giving out the gift card to carers?
“It was a fantastic initiative. We were pleased to be able to serve our carers who were allocated the card in a certain amount. This created new customers coming in the door and it absolutely added much value to our business, not only through spend at the time, but also through repeat customers.
“It is extremely important to bring new customers through the door. If they have a gift card, a customer might look on the website and see we are part of the initiative and visit us. It is challenging for most businesses at the moment but we have to continue to explore ways that we can have the next generation of customers come into our branches and have that familiarity with the brand.”
What are your tips for other businesses to get the most out of their local Town & City Gift Card?
“We have Wight Gift Card stickers in our windows to confirm that we accept the card and are part of the scheme. Then, it’s about communication with our team and managers so they are aware of how to accept the card. Our goal is making the transaction as easy as possible for the customer.
“Being a part of the community is vital and I think more businesses are realising how important that is in 2023. With the events of the last few years, people have reassessed what is important for them and priorities have changed. There is a greater understanding of support for local and also for being a part of and playing your part in your community.”
Why did you take part in the UK’s Favourite Local Business competition?
“In November 2022, we heard about the UK’s Favourite Local Business competition, sponsored by Town & City Gift Cards and promoted by the Isle of Wight Council. It asked people to nominate their favourite local business from anywhere in the UK, with a £500 Town & City Gift Card as the prize.
“Hurst is lucky to have fantastic customer feedback on Trust Pilot. And as votes started to come in for Hurst in the UK’s Favourite Local Business competition, it was fantastic to see the affection that residents have for Hurst and it reaffirmed how important Hurst is to the local community.
“We were involved in press activity celebrating the fact we’d been nominated, and we were being approached by customers and other businesses asking us what the competition was about. There was real excitement from the community and all of our local press covered the story. Even to have been nominated by one person was an extremely proud moment, let alone to win and be crowned the UK’s Favourite Local Business.”
What was the reaction from the community to Hurst receiving the UK’s Favourite Local Business title?
“To be the UK’s Favourite Local Business is an accolade that we are extremely proud of. This was nominated by our customers and that’s what makes all of the difference to me, and to everyone that works at W. Hurst & Son. It has also helped to put the Isle of Wight on the national map as a place where local is valued. We’ve received so many messages of congratulation from not only customers but also our suppliers, even donating product. We’re setting up a celebration day at the end of May 2023 with a day of demos, activities and goodie bags so we can say thank you to the community.
“There has also been a real sense of renewed pride across our team. It has been nice to hear stories across our branches of customers coming in and saying well done, and it’s a great talking point and something we can talk about with a great sense of pride. To know we have that accolade for a whole year helps us to plan our strategy for the coming year. There has been a lot of interest, all of our local press covered the story, and we’ve also seen increased footfall.”