Global Matters

Home or away, choose to shop local this summer

As Fiver Fest kicks off a summer of local spending, independent businesses reveal what the support of their local community – and summer staycationers – means to them.

By Dominic White, Head of Merchant Sales and Acquiring, UK & Ireland, Visa

Fiver Fest

Snug Bookshop is an independent bookstore and café in Bridgwater, just six miles from the Somerset coast. Owner Sam Carr, who was a school librarian before fulfilling her dream of opening an independent bookshop in December 2018, has a life-long passion for books and giving recommendations to others.

Before the pandemic, Sam had started to explore e-commerce as a different way to engage new customers but, as her business was forced to close during lockdown, Sam’s online presence proved invaluable. Being online allowed Sam to adapt her business model to keep serving her local community so that customers could continue to enjoy their book shopping experience:

“What saved us was getting our website set up with e-commerce so people could keep buying our books – we even offered free local deliveries. We also really upped our game on social media, hosting our first Instagram Live and Facebook Live events.”

Like many others, Sam is hoping that the summer will bring staycationers to her town, and new customers to her business. In fact, with two thirds of us planning a holiday in the UK this year, new research from Visa has found that 61%1 of local businesses are optimistic that people on staycations – as well as locals – will choose to shop with them.

To kick-start a summer of local spending, Snug Bookshop is one of thousands of independent businesses across the UK hosting special £5 offers for shoppers as part of their involvement in Fiver Fest, a celebration of local businesses organised by grassroots initiative Totally Locally and supported by Visa. For two weeks, Snug Bookshop customers can pick up ‘Blind-date books’ - a wrapped book with a gift tag showing just the first line and a brief description of the storyline - for just £5.

Sam at Snug Bookshop believes its initiatives like Fiver Fest that will help reinvigorate the town’s business community and attract new customers:

“There’s a real buzz around Fiver Fest with lots of people asking about our £5 offers. I hope that it will inspire people from local villages and beyond back into Bridgwater, to reconnect with friends over a coffee and a browse around our bookshop.”

With over half of local, independent businesses surveyed by Visa (55%) saying that the summer season is usually their quietest time2, there’s never been a better time to support your local high street.

What’s more, supporting your local, independent businesses can also have a positive impact on the wider community, helping your local area to prosper and create jobs. In fact, research from Visa and Cebr found that £1.90 of every £5 spent locally is retained in the local economy, proving that where you choose to shop matters to your local shopkeepers3.

So, if you’re out exploring your local area, or visiting a staycation hotspot, don’t forget to check out what’s on offer at independent businesses and choose to shop local this summer.

To find out more about Fiver Fest and how spending £5 locally can boost local independent businesses near you this summer, visit

1 Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Opinium Research from 21st – 28th May 2021.
2 Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Opinium Research from 21st – 28th May 2021.
3 Visa Spending Support Sum research commissioned by Visa and produced by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr).

Tag: Social Impact Tag: Digital commerce