‘We feel like we have our own currency now:’ €110,000 bought in Carndonagh gift cards

Deirdre Bradley and Davin Doherty of the Carndonagh Merchants Association.

The Carndonagh Traders’ Association launched the Carndonagh Gift Card in March 2021 to replace their previous paper gift voucher.

“We have been blown away by the success of the Carndonagh Gift Card,” said Deirdre Bradley, President of the Carndonagh Traders’ Association and local business owner.

“1,915 gift cards worth €110,000 purchased is impressive, but when you think that the value of each euro spent locally is multiplied by 4, that’s a lot of businesses in safety, and a lot of jobs secured.

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“People buy them every day and use them every day. I get a Carndonagh gift card spent at the store almost every day, and it makes a big difference to our receipts. For me and other business owners to know that we have £110,000 to spend here in Carndonagh is so positive and something to look forward to.

“I sold a £100 Carndonagh gift card today which was bought as a birthday present. The good thing is the profit from that £100 will probably be spread all over Carndonagh as the recipient spends quite a bit here and there We feel like we have our own currency now.

“Many local employers are using the Carndonagh Gift Card for their staff rewards, taking advantage of the opportunity to give staff a non-cash €500 tax free reward. Being able to offer employers a local way to reward staff was one of the main reasons we started the gift card, and we’re really happy about it.Of all the things we’ve done in the city, the Carndonagh gift card has got to be the best because it’s helped to many companies, everyone gets a piece of the pie.

“Popular places where people can redeem their gift cards are the local oil company, the independent supermarket as well as health and beauty places; small businesses really benefit. It also shows what a great gift it is to give. A person can spend their card by putting diesel in the car, fuel in the fire, or food on the table. Or they can treat themselves to a treatment or a new outfit. Even our local vet takes the cards. With the cost of living rising so much, gifts that fit personal circumstances matter more than ever.

The Carndonagh Gift Card can be spent at over 45 businesses in Carndonagh, including shops, restaurants, pubs, cafes, hotels, services and leisure, and is available to purchase from the tourist information from Visit Carndonagh and online.

The Irish market town of Inishowen, County Donegal, was named Ireland’s most enterprising in the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards 2020 and was regional winner of the Bank of Ireland Enterprise Town Awards in 2019.

Deirdre says the Carndonagh Gift Card has also helped the town reach new audiences:

“All age groups buy them. Our local schools have embraced it and used the Carndonagh Gift Card as a small reward for pupils. These are small value gift cards, but it’s an introduction to the gift card and independent, local buying. Then, the slightly older children will buy a gift card for their mother at the Tourist Office for Mother’s Day or as a present.

“It’s also bringing in new customers, especially from other towns like Buncrana and Malin Head. With a gift card in your pocket, people will make the effort to come here. All of our businesses say they’ve had new customers through the card. We have had a very successful first year of the Carndonagh Gift Card which is really down to our community supporting the initiative and word of mouth.In 2022 we look forward to continuing to grow our Gift Card and to help even more companies.

The Carndonagh Gift Card is part of fintech Miconex’s award-winning Town & City gift card scheme, alongside Ballinrobe, Drogheda and High Street Ashbourne. Colin Munro is the Managing Director of Miconex and said:

“Carndonagh should be proud of its success with the Carndonagh Gift Card. The Carndonagh Traders’ Association is a voluntary organization run by people who are already busy with their own businesses, but who give their time to benefit the community. Hear the The positive impact of the Carndonagh Gift Card for shopkeepers to attract new customers and lock money into the town is fantastic, but also for employers who now have a tangible way to support locals, and for customers who can use the card to ease financial burdens or heal. Carndonagh is a great example of the power of local gift cards to grow local economies.”

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