Saturday was a big day for Chris Beveridge, the brains behind The Hastings Card.
He launched the latest version of the card, welcomed a new business to the family and had the chance to explain the concept behind the card to Hastings Mayor James Bacon
Joining The Hastings Card family was Red Basil a new artisan grocers in Robertson Street that was set up last December. It’s now the only shop of its kind in the town centre with the Queens Arcade Deli and Queens Road Deli both closing due to the pandemic.
Ruzanna Badalyan, the owner of Red Basil, says she accepts the Hastings Card because she sees the importance of referring her customers to other family businesses. Red Basil also sells and renews Hastings Cards.
Chris came up with the idea for The Hastings Card in 2015 and his concept has grown over the years. As a someone who has lived in Hastings for over 40 years he loves promoting his hometown.
“My parents lived in Oakwood Close and Downs Road. My grandad invited my dad to my mum’s 16th birthday party, and well, they were a couple until his passing three years ago.
“I spent my childhood playing in St Helens Woods and riding my BMX around the town. My first job was at Extras in York Buildings, second in the Hastings Sealife Centre and third in Pathway Books cafe.
“I married my wife, Anna in 1996 and we have two beautiful children – one of whom has given me a great son-in-law.”
From 2009, Chris and Anna ran a family English Homestay business, www.englishteachershome.co.uk and he became aware of local businesses offering student discounts – but they didn’t do the same for local residents. Then while volunteering at the Hastings Foodbank a man called Ray asked for £50 so he could pay for the electricity to cook the food that he had received.
“The church gave him the cash and I went away thinking about the Big Issue model of creating a short term income stream for people in crisis,” says Chris.
“I came up with the Hastings Card in 2015 with the encouragement of two friends. I put the two ideas together the possibility of creating a card that would give locals the same discounts as visiting students and the card would have value and could be sold for £10.
“I printed a St Leonards Card, which had one pressing. Brian and Debbie Guy were the first to offer a discount at Clambers Playcentre and BattleZone live. I am very grateful for their support. Yesterday, they ordered the new Hastings Card to sell to their customers,” says Chris.
Hailsham Town Council liked the concept of the Hastings Card and commissioned a Hailsham Card in 2017: “I created the Town City Card brand so that my cards could be used across towns – ie Hastings Card in Hailsham, Hailsham Card in Hastings etc – seven years later there are several variant Town City Cards and over 200 attractions, shops, restaurants, hairdressers and gyms offering a discount,” says Chris.
Several large companies also buy cards for employee benefit schemes with the newest card the Official Hastings Pirate Pass which Chris expects to prove popular.
“The wonderful aspect of the cards is that they encourage you to discover local businesses that you may otherwise just pass by and businesses also sell the cards so they gain from new sales and renewals. It kind of creates a little community where we all recommend our favourite places!” Chris says.