Local Hero

Tunbridge Wells employers now have the opportunity to support both their staff and the local economy courtesy of the TN card loyalty scheme, which is offering special corporate packages to companies. Its founder Jess Gibson tells Tunbridge Wells Business Magazine more about this beneficial employee incentive…

The TN card is the Tunbridge Wells loyalty scheme that rewards shoppers for supporting local. Founded in February 2020 by local entrepreneur and mother of four, Jess Gibson, its key aim has always been to encourage more residents to shop and support local.
And despite a Covid-shaped curve ball being thrown her way shortly after Jess launched The TN card four years ago, she has managed to weather that storm and steadily grow her business. 

The TN card scheme now has over 900 businesses in its ever-expanding directory.   Hundreds of these are in Tunbridge Wells but it also operates in Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and other TN postcodes.

The benefits of joining as a member of the award-winning TN card are multi-layered. For the individual subscription price of just £25 a year – or £3 a month – members enjoy discounts, treats and extras at businesses from shops and restaurants to theatres, salons, gyms and days out, as well as regular members’ events. Ten per cent of all sales go to the West Kent Mind charity.

Membership cards are now digital thanks to the iOS and Android TN card app that launched in 2022 and Jess is currently rolling out new functionality such as dog-friendly and family friendly filters, a new days out category and also feedback ratings.

Another area where Jess has grown her loyalty shopping initiative is in the corporate arena.

Now local businesses, both large and small, are encouraged to purchase TN card membership for their employees as a staff benefit. Through their memberships, staff enjoy enticing rewards in retail and leisure, but also dental and medical discounts and other well-being benefits.

“I am thrilled that so many of our Tunbridge Wells employers are now supporting the TN card and its mission to champion local,” she tells Tunbridge Wells Business Magazine.

“The TN card is being recognised as not only a valuable and practical benefit for staff, but as a way of giving back to the community, of donating to West Kent Mind and an easy way to demonstrate commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance responsibilities,” adds Jess.

Employee annual membership of The TN card costs just £15 (+VAT) a year when a minimum purchase of six cards is made. 

“For the TN card, having a corporate scheme in place like this means more members, which sustains the business as a whole and allows it to grow further, both in the breadth of rewards offered but the many ways in which the TN card supports local,” explains Jess.

“The simple fact is the more members with a card, the more we can then support our independents. The TN card was established to facilitate positive change in our community – and now with employers coming on board, its potential to do this is made even greater.”

Jess says that corporate TN card membership makes an affordable and impactful staff benefit to any company.

“It’s a win-win. Staff can take advantage of the myriad benefits by being a TN card member and then in turn our independents benefit from increased footfall. Not only is supporting local good for our local economy, but it’s good for the environment, reducing our carbon footprint as shoppers.”

In June last year, The TN card was accredited as a Social Enterprise, putting social purpose before profit which in turn gives employers complete transparency on the business’s commitment to social purpose. 

“There are 100,000 social enterprises in the UK, which are businesses that prioritise benefit to people and the planet and use the majority of any profit to further their mission.

“But we still need more members, more card holders, so the TN card can be sustained, stay impactful and grow alongside its partner database,” states Jess.

In Tunbridge Wells Jess works alongside the BID (Business Improvement District) to support all manner of local businesses which include restaurants, bars, theatres, hairdressers and hotels but she is always looking for more corporates to get involved and support it by introducing it as a staff perk.

Tunbridge Wells employers who have joined as corporate members, purchasing the TN card for staff, include Berry & Lamberts Solicitors, Big Orange Media, BSR Bespoke Accountants, Chilliapple, Sharp Minds Communications, Thomson Snell & Passmore and TN Recruits.

“There is a common perception that the TN card is a big success story because it is always so busy, yet it promotes our High Street businesses without charge and relies on membership sales.  I am very grateful to local employers who have chosen to support the TN card by boosting its membership numbers.  

“With exciting updates to our online platform underway and our new corporate supporter badge, there’s never been a more rewarding time for employers to come on board and I hope many more follow suit.  More corporate memberships mean greater membership numbers, more the TN card can do for its 900 business owners and more people out in towns supporting local.   It’s a win-win for us all.”

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