Edinburgh gift box venture launches to support independent retailers during coronavirus lockdown

An Edinburgh entrepreneur has launched a gift box delivery venture to serve households in the capital and provide a “critical” lifeline for independent retailers to continue trading throughout the coronavirus lockdown.

Keep Edinburgh Thriving founder Robbie Allen says the venture benefits local retailers.

Keep Edinburgh Thriving, established by internet marketing consultancy specialist Robbie Allen, is designed to help capital residents to shop locally while providing small businesses with another route to maintain cashflow and remain financially stable.

The concept’s initial goal is to support businesses during the Covid-19 shutdown, bridging the gap caused by social distancing measures which have forced cafes, restaurants, boutiques and all retailers classified as “non-essential” to close their doors indefinitely and caused a sudden, steep decline in income.

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Partners already on board include Bellfield Brewery, Coco Chocolatier, Eira Soaps and The Wax Jungle. Allen is also seeking further businesses to participate in the venture, with plans to continue the service beyond the crisis.

The venture offers two sizes of gift box: a small box contains four or five items and costs £39, while a large package contains six to seven products and costs £55.

Customers will receive a variety of products including artisan food and snacks, local art, drinks, craft coffee, beer, spirits, skincare products and lifestyle items such as candles, coasters, notebooks or mugs, all of which will be local to Edinburgh.

Allen, who has worked as an online consultant for more than eight years, said: “It is a really simple idea. Our aim is to keep Edinburgh thriving.

“We are partnering with a bunch of amazing local businesses in Edinburgh and taking these high-quality products and handling all the logistics and e-commerce side of things for them so that they can continue to grow and sustain their company and livelihood.”

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Although the contents of each offering will vary, the venture pledges every order will include at least one product from each of these categories: drinks, lifestyle, food, skin care and art.

Allen added: “This is a really tough time for our beloved high street, and we want to help as many local Edinburgh businesses as possible. As soon as you place an order this instantly benefits our local partners providing the products in each gift box.”

To support the local community during the pandemic, £2 from each gift box sale will be donated to the Edinburgh Food Project, which delivers emergency food supplies to residents in need.

This comes as a number of retailers in the capital have either launched or adapted their home delivery services to ensure they can continue to trade.

E-commerce service Drinkly, which delivers chilled beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks to customers’ doors, has now rolled out free daytime delivery slots on all convenience goods such as toilet roll, paracetamol and hand wash.

Meanwhile Victor Hugo Deli is offering a takeaway and home delivery service which includes cupboard staples such as fresh vegetables, bread, non-dairy milk, free range eggs and freshly squeezed orange juice, in addition to its food menu.

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