Bishop's Stortford Unwrapped: Late-night shopping event heralds countdown to Christmas
A late-night Christmas shopping event has been reintroduced in Bishop's Stortford by the town's new BID (Business Improvement District).
A formal launch to the festive present-buying season was a regular fixture for many years, with celebrations focused on North Street, but after the closure of Pearsons department store in 2012 the tradition fizzled out.
But shops, salons and cafés will be reviving the custom and opening their doors until 8pm on Thursday (Nov 21) in an initiative called Bishop's Stortford Unwrapped.
BID manager Gina Thomas said: "The idea is to entice shoppers into Bishop's Stortford's high street and to showcase what the town has to offer, with a range of independents and national retailers – you really can get everything here."
To help get shoppers in the Christmas spirit, there will be free chestnuts roasting in Market Square from 4pm and the choir from St James the Great Church at Thorley will be singing carols and festive songs in North Street and South Street.
Some shops will be offering complimentary mince pies, mulled wine, gin and tonic, Prosecco, sherry and hot chocolate, including High Street tailor Alexandra Wood and clothes shop Ruby Room, Muse, Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Epiphany, where someone will be making and selling Christmas wreaths.
From 4pm the BID team will be next to Sainsbury's in Jackson Square, giving away a FREE cotton shopping bag, filled with special offers, for the first 300 shoppers and FREE cupcakes from Karen's Cakes for the first 50 people to go up to them and say "Bishop's Stortford Unwrapped", as well as a free guide for the evening.
Traders have come up with a range of special offers to support the event, including:
- 20% off everything at Mountain Warehouse between 4pm and 8pm (including already-reduced and 'buy one, get one free' items)
- Visitors to South Street Pantry can browse products from Capelli Treasures, Little Luna Creations, Cavell Designs and Floral Desire Florist
- 10% off selected items, free gift with purchase on selected items (while stocks last), goody bags of samples and promotions plus bubbles and nibbles at hair and beauty salons Elements and Urban Spa
- South Street cafe Coffee Corner has come up with a special Christmas menu and will be offering a free mince pie or Christmas brownie with any large hot drink throughout the day (kitchen open until 7pm)
- Goody bags, including free gifts and discount vouchers, all day at Click Click, which will be serving mince pies and sherry from 6pm
- A glass of fizz or mulled wine and a mince pie plus skincare samples and vouchers available all day at Halo Beauty Sanctuary in Riverside Walk
- A warm gin punch and 10% off gin at the Gin Palace (open till late)
- Sample Fairtrade chocolates and biscuits at Oxfam in South Street
- Brewer Adnams will be in store at Waitrose from 5pm with tastings of its Copper House Gin.
The businesses signed up so far are:
Burton, Coffee Corner, Crew Clothing, Dorothy Perkins, Elements hair salon, Epiphany, Oxfam, Ruby Room, South Street Pantry
Halo Beauty Sanctuary
Carla's Curios & Creations, Gin Palace, Zoe Dee
H&M, New Look, Next, Wilko, Sainsbury's (including Argos), Superdrug, The Entertainer, Urban Spa (Devoils Lane)
Market Square & Potter Street
Click Click, Eat 17 (open until 10pm), Mint Velvet, Mountain Warehouse, Phase Eight, Rosey Lea (serving food until 8.30pm), The Works (open until 7.30pm), Trespass
Le Donné II, Muse
Alexandra Wood Bespoke Tailors, Fashion Flooring & Interiors
North Street & Florence Walk
Bill's (staff will be on the streets with free samples and scratchcards), Blink, Lark Interiors (free mince pies and chocolates), Lathams
Retailers who want to join the event should email email@example.com