Shop local gift card is a ‘no-brainer’ says Forres retailer as numbers grow

Pictured in Forres town centre are, left to right, Laura Hanson (Babalu), Sarah Coulson (Born to Read), Kirsty Shand (Moray Gift Card) and Georgina Bonnici (Moray Osteopaths). Pic: Marc Hindley

More and more Forres businesses are signing up to a gift card scheme that encourages people to keep their spending local.

The Moray Gift Card now has more than 145 businesses on its books that accept the plastic card, which works just like any other debit card.

With around 30 of those businesses in Forres, Moray Council Project Development Officer Kirsty Shand says sales have increased significantly since September with numbers continually rising and businesses purchasing for rewards and competitions, and customers buying them for gifts.

Kirsty said: “It is free for businesses to register and accept the Moray Gift Card with free promotion, support and marketing!”

Keeping it local

The concept is simple, the card only works in registered locations, and only businesses in Moray can register. If someone buys a gift card for a friend, family member or customer, 100 per cent of the spend will be made locally. Cards are available in values from £5 to £500.

Kirsty is driving the message home to local businesses that the more outlets that accept the card, the more money will be kept in the local area.

Sarah Coulson from Born to Read, is a Forres businesswoman who signed up for the card at the very start of the scheme.

She said: “For me it was important to support the initiative to keep local spending in local businesses and to give customers as many payment options as possible.  For local businesses, as a whole, I think it’s important to work together, to support each other to keep the local High Street alive.

“Buying the gift cards as rewards or gifts for their employees is an excellent idea. Many of us, when unsure what to give someone, resort to a gift card from a large chain, because it gives the recipient lots of choice on what to spend it on. The Moray gift card now also gives choices; from butchers to beauty treatments to books etc.


Laura Hanson from high street shop Babalu, said the Moray Gift Card is very important for local businesses.

“There is a vast choice of businesses registered in our local area so people can spend it many ways. Also it keeps the money in the local economy unlike other multi-use gift cards.

“To me it’s a no brainier being signed up. It costs nothing more than a normal card transaction at point of use. With added free advertising on the Moray Gift Card website and Facebook page it’s a win-win!”

Kirsty added that the card can be spent in all sectors including food and drink, services, shopping, accommodation, leisure and attractions, health and beauty – all over Moray!

The gift that keeps on giving

“Holders of the gift card could relax with coffee and cake, nip to the local butchers, get some pampering or go out for a day with the family! The Moray Gift Card can be used in more than one business meaning you could get your nails done, get the wee ones a treat and put some pennies towards the weekly shop!”

Moray Osteopaths have a practice in Forres and have also signed up. While might not be the first thing that comes to mind when buying gift cards for a friend, it become a more versatile gift than a single-use gift voucher, because of the variety of outlets.

Osteopath Deborah Sutherland said: “I think the more businesses that are involved the greater interest from the public. It also highlights the many amazing shops and services we have that are local to the area, that could disappear if we don’t support them.”

Wants and needs

“It’s an amazing thing to give others for Christmas. This year in particular, it may allow people to not only choose something they want, but for some it may help them get something they need.”

At Forres Local, we’re also supporting the card, the concept and the businesses that register.

Our directory now shows every IV36 business which accepts the card. Look out for the logo in our listings. We also encourage you to use the #ForresLovesLocal hashtag in your social posts. This ties in with the nationwide #ScotlandLovesLoval strategy and Moray Council are using the local hashtag on local posts as this will link all the businesses together making it easier to find outlets that accept the card.

Get loaded

Currently, the cards can only be bought online, but keep your eyes peeled for a new development. ‘Load This Card’ packs will be available in shops all over Moray, and before Christmas, where people can take home an empty card, load it with money online and give it to whoever they want.

To buy the card online, go to

To register as a business (it’s free), go to:

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