MORE than 20 businesses in Exeter have joined together to host an initiative to celebrate local retailers and help take the stress out of Christmas gift shopping.
Dubbed the Christmas Crawl, the campaign will run until Christmas Eve as part of a national initiative masterminded by Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, founder of the Celebrate an Independent Christmas and Independent Retailer Month campaigns.
Exeter's Christmas shoppers can pick up a map of the town marked with each of the businesses involved. Upon visiting each store and receiving a stamp, they are automatically entered into a free prize draw to win a cocktail master class for 10 people or more than £800 worth of vouchers.
The businesses involved in the Crawl comprise a whole host of exciting venues and quirky retailers, including: Bunyip Beads, Cafe at 36, Devon Coffee, Eden Day Spa, Erin Cox, Fizzy Wizzy Woo, Insideout, Inspirations, Isca, Meme, Moko, Penny's Recipes, Shaker Maker, Sweet Cheeks, The Cove, Devon Weigh, Tadsurf, Luxtons, Snappy Snaps, No Guts No Glory, Iris Boutique and The Oddfellows. The prize draw will take place on Friday January 4.
Sue Taylor, co-owner of Café at 36, is running the competition for the town. She said: "The Christmas Shopping Crawl is an excellent opportunity for small retailers to literally put themselves on the map.
"This is a peak time of year for retailers and it's important to make the most of the opportunity.
"For shoppers it offers a fun and exciting opportunity to explore different retailers and to buy beautiful, unique gifts. Since launch we've already handed out lots of maps and there's a real excitement among local people about the Crawl."
Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, said: "Exeter's Christmas Shopping Crawl is an excellent opportunity for small retailers in the area to literally put themselves on the map and increase their footfall at such a crucial time of the year.
"It's great to see the initiative already in full swing in Exeter and I am looking forward to seeing the Crawls taking place in all of the 50-plus towns involved across the UK."
The Christmas Crawl is sponsored by O2 as part of its bid to champion and support independent shops.
Visit www.independentshops.co.uk/christmas-shopping to find out more.