Galashiels resident wins big for shopping small

Norma Graham won the national prize – an Ooni Pizza Oven – through the town’s loyalty initiative to encourage local shopping and support small businesses

A Galashiels resident found out that local shopping can be rewarding in more ways than one after picking up a high-value national prize through Mi Rewards Galashiels.

Norma, who recently moved back to Galashiels after 19 years away, said that joining Mi Rewards was a good way to get reacquainted with the local area:

“After moving back I was keen to get involved in what’s happening in Galashiels and a friend told me about this initiative where if I shopped locally, I could earn reward points. I thought it sounded ideal, and downloaded the Mi Rewards app. It took me 4 minutes at most.”

Linked to over 50 Galashiels businesses, the Mi Rewards programme automatically rewards customers for shopping locally. Participants earn 1 point for every £1 spent locally, and every 10 points becomes an entry into a regular prize draw to win both local and national prizes.

“Now, if I go into a local business like the bakers and pay using my regular debit card, I get points through Mi Rewards,” adds Norma. “It immediately pops up on my phone telling me that I’ve earnt say 8 points, and it’s that instant gratification for shopping local. I get fed up with traditional loyalty cards because I don’t want to carry them around with me.

“When I got the email saying I’d won the pizza oven, I was stunned. It has come at a brilliant time because I have just moved into my new house in Galashiels and a pizza oven was on my wish-list. I’ve already decided where I’m going to put it.

“Being a part of Mi Rewards will spur me on to shop regularly with those businesses where I can earn points. There is a good variety of businesses in Galashiels where you can earn points with Mi Rewards, from the beauty salon and hairdressers to cafés and shops.

“I love Galashiels. You can go into the small shops and get things you can’t get anywhere else. When you shop local, you’re making a difference locally to a local person. They’re happy you shopped with them. You don’t get that with Amazon.

“We’ve all had an online shopping disaster where the item that arrives is nothing like you imagined. Shop local and you can see what you’re getting, have a day out and the whole experience of Galashiels. Nothing beats it.

“Covid has been awful for small businesses, they’ve had it really hard and are still suffering. People have gotten into the habit of shopping online. I tell everyone about Mi Rewards, because I think it’s a brilliant idea and more people need to know about it so we can reverse that online shopping trend.”

Mi Rewards was introduced by Energise Galashiels Trust in June as part of a drive to encourage local and loyal shopping in the town, following funding from Scotland’s Towns Partnership.

The next local prize through Mi Rewards Galashiels is a £100 voucher for Love My Beds on Market Street whilst the national prize is a Ninja Foodi Max Dual Zone Air Fryer.

Debbie Paterson of Energise Galashiels Trust said: “We’re thrilled to see a winner from Galashiels picking up the national prize of an Ooni Pizza Oven as a reward for shopping local. We introduced Mi Rewards Galashiels to make local shopping as enticing as possible, rewarding people who are taking the time to support our town and its businesses. The next local and national prizes are both fantastic too. Now is a great time to sign up with Mi Rewards and start earning rewards for supporting local.”

The technology for the Mi Rewards programme is provided by fintech Miconex, and is active in 10 towns and cities across the UK. Mi Rewards Galashiels is one of three Mi Rewards programmes in Scotland, alongside Kirkcaldy and Perth.

Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex said it’s easy for businesses to register with Mi Rewards:

“Joining Mi Rewards is free for businesses and easy too. It rewards customers based on the customer’s payment cards, so the business just accepts payment in the regular way with no requirement for new equipment or training. When Galashiels residents register with Mi Rewards, they’ll look and see where they can earn points locally. Being a part of Mi Rewards is a way that Galashiels businesses can encourage new and repeat customers, build relationships with them, and give customers access to exciting national and local prizes.”

Galashiels residents and businesses can register with Mi Rewards free.

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