Stirling’s first Gingerbread Trail has been hailed a success by the city’s business community and families who took part in the challenge.
The Trail was organised by Go Forth Stirling BID (Business Improvement District) to offer some festive fun for shoppers and increase footfall around the city during the run-up to Christmas. Participants enjoyed picking up a map and following clues to find crucial supplies which had been stolen from Santa by a gang of mischievous gingerbread men who broke into the North Pole.
The missing materials were hidden along the Trail and could be located in Stirling shop windows which were hand-painted with colourful gingerbread scenes by talented local signwriter Ross Hastie. A range of city centre businesses took part in the initiative including Archie’s Pet Shop in King Street.
Owner Rosalind Houston said: “The Gingerbread Trail was so much fun and we had lots of people coming in and asking for maps. Not only was it nice to have new people in the shop, it was great to see a festive atmosphere around the city centre and amazing to see all the businesses which had their windows painted. Ross did a fantastic job with all the windows.”
Spittal Street’s Hotel Colessio was an important part of the Trail with participants stopping off for a free hot chocolate when they showed their map there. General Manager Lee Norris said: “Hotel Colessio was absolutely thrilled to be invited to be part of the Gingerbread Trail this festive season.
We never thought it would bring as much fun, festive cheer and smiles as it did and it was wonderful to see families on the Trail call in for a warming hot chocolate and take a moment to recharge in our lounge.
We were enthralled to hear the tales of where children had been and what the Gingerbread man had been up to. We grew quite attached to the Gingerbread man in the window and really did enjoy seeing the local community pop in and use Colessio as it should be.”
A number of businesses also ran special gingerbread-themed activities to tie in with the Trail including estate agents Aberdein Considine in Port Street who hosted a gingerbread house decorating contest. Marketing Manager Michael Madden said: ‘In terms of overall impressions, we noticed a significant increase in attention to our shop during the promotion period. “
The Gingerbread Trail garnered positive feedback generating heightened interest from both existing and potential customers and our team received numerous compliments and inquiries about the promotion indicating a successful and engaging campaign.
We were delighted to support Go Forth’s Gingerbread Trail and the social activity dedicated to it achieved substantial engagement, organically reaching 13,747 individuals through our posts. Furthermore, our dedicated landing page for the Gingerbread Dream House witnessed 1,903 visits with the accompanying template being downloaded an impressive 147 times.
We look forward to continued involvement in future initiatives to support the city centre contributing to the vibrancy and community spirit which makes our city a special place for all.”
A total of 247 people downloaded the Gingerbread Trail map from the Go Forth Stirling website with 119 entries completed and returned.
Jitka Fleglova, Go Forth’s Community Engagement Manager, said: “The Trail proved a real success with great feedback from both the families and traders who took part. The idea was to offer families some fun as they visited the city centre over the festive season and to promote all the amazing shops, cafes and restaurants we have in Stirling.
We had a fabulous response from the business community who really embraced and got involved with the project. We’d like to thank everyone who helped us with the Trail by allowing us to use their window space and by taking the initiative to go the extra mile with added events and goodies.
A special thanks also goes to The Wee Wolf Bistro for hosting a colouring competition and supplying breakfast for the winner and to all of the generous businesses who donated prizes for the Gingerbread Trail winners.”
Three lucky Gingerbread Trail winners were drawn at random from all the correctly completed competition entries. They received prizes of advent calendars filled with treats from Stirling retailers including vouchers for some of the city’s hair salons and tourist attractions plus toys, stickers and sweets.
One winning family wrote in a testimonial: “It was lovely to see all the effort from the businesses who participated in the Gingerbread Trail. We especially loved all the additional activities they organised including hot chocolate from Hotel Colessio. We loved every minute of it and cannot wait for future trails.”
The Gingerbread Trail is one of many initiatives devised by the BID to support Stirling’s independent businesses.
Go Forth Stirling BID was set up in 2017 and currently represents more than 600 local businesses with a key objective of delivering projects and services which improve Stirling’s trading environment to benefit businesses, shoppers and visitors.
For more details visit www.goforthstirling.co.uk