See You in Stokey: Newington shops join forces to safeguard area

Pic: Corin Messer Photography
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"See you in Stokey” - the battle cry of Stoke Newington traders, who have launched a series of events and a new website to showcase the area. Pictured here are members of Stoke Newington Business Association - Credit: Corin Messer

Small businesses in Stoke Newington have joined forces to safeguard the future of the area’s independent shops, restaurants and cafes against rising rates and rents. 

This week, the See You in Stokey campaign has launched with the goal of bringing customers into the vibrant shopping lanes rather than resorting to online commerce. 

The project comes with a new website, a series of events and a marketing campaign that aims to sell the whole area and the experiences it has to offer.

Heidi Early of the newly-formed Stoke Newington Business Association, said: “See You in Stokey is our battle cry.

“It’s the roar of some amazing traders who are determined to keep Stoke Newington colourful, creative and characterful. 

“We realised that by working together independents are stronger and can harness the support of our community and attract new people to the area.”

A big part of the campaign is the website www.seeyouinstokey.com, which features events, facts, local history and a guide to the area’s nature reserves. It includes news articles about the small businesses and characters that make Stoke Newington special.

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The Business Association has also teamed up with the Guardian cartoonist Henny Beaumont to host the Invisible People Art Trail – a two-week exhibition of artwork by people who feel marginalised. It will occupy shop windows and wall space inside local businesses.

The business association has not ruled out reintroducing Stoke Fest, which in its heyday drew thousands of people to the area, and other events. 

Kate Revere, also of the business association, added: “The role of small businesses has evolved. It isn’t enough to stock nice products and price them competitively, now we have to be great at marketing too. 

“It starts with building a strong social media presence but here in Stokey we’ve realised we have to do even more – we have to sell the whole area and the experience of coming here and for that to work small businesses need to collaborate.”

Funding for the website, a series of local events and the marketing drive came from Hackney Council’s ‘high streets and town centres fund.